Trump trial to resume with gag order arguments, testimony from ex-National Enquirer publisher

Judge Juan Merchan is expected to hear arguments Tuesday on whether former President Trump violated the gag order imposed upon him in his criminal trial. The former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee will be back in court Tuesday with his attorneys at 9:30 a.m. as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and prosecutors allege he violated the gag order in the trial by posting on social media.Merchan imposed a gag order on Trump before the trial began, ordering that Trump cannot make or direct others to make public statements about witnesses with regard to their potential participation or about counsel in the case – other than Bragg – or about court staff, DA staff or family members of staff.Merchan also ordered that Trump cannot make or direct others to make public statements about any prospective juror or chosen juror. But on Saturday, he let loose with an all-caps rant on his social media platform.NY VS TRUMP: THE EVIDENCE PROSECUTORS CAN PRESENT IF FORMER PRESIDENT TESTIFIESBragg argued in the first week of the trial that Trump violated his gag order more than seven times and that he should pay a $1,000 fine each for some of the instances. Bragg, in his motion, urged the judge to warn the former president that another violation could be punishable by up to 30 days of incarceration.Trump and his defense attorneys have argued that the former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee should not be bound by the gag order, saying it violates his First Amendment rights as well as the First Amendment rights of his supporters. Merchan said at the end of court on Monday that the hearing on the gag order must finish by 11 a.m. Tuesday. If additional time is needed, Merchan said he will pause the hearing and continue at a later date.TRUMP TRIAL: FORMER PRESIDENT ‘INNOCENT,’ SAYS DEFENSE AS DA ALLEGES ‘CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY’Then, Merchan is expected to invite the jury in at 11 a.m. to hear testimony from the prosecution’s first witness, David Pecker, the former American Media CEO and National Enquirer publisher.Pecker took the stand for a brief period after opening arguments were delivered Monday.Pecker answered questions from Bragg prosecutor Joshua Steinglass on Monday before court ended for the day.Prosecutors argue that Pecker, Trump and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen “formed a conspiracy to influence” the 2016 election by employing a “catch & kill” scheme to ensure negative stories were not published about Trump.During the defense, Trump attorney Todd Blanche declared that the former president “is innocent.”BRAGG SAYS HE WILL TRY TO ‘DISCREDIT’ TRUMP IF HE TESTIFIES IN HIS DEFENSE DURING CRIMINAL TRIALBlanche on Monday said there was nothing illegal done, and he argued that Trump was protecting himself against false allegations. “Trump fought back to protect his family, reputation, brand,” Blanche said. “And that is not a crime.” Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been charged by Bragg with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The charges are related to alleged hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts. He has blasted the trial as pure politics, a “political persecution,” and he maintains his innocence. The former president, the first ever to be a defendant in a criminal trial, vowed to “tell the truth” if he takes the stand.
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