Former President Donald Trump broadcast live from Mar-a-Lago with only one audience: the judge in the criminal case.
The TV star-turned-president appeared in a special criminal court on Tuesday afternoon. Court spokeswoman Lucien Chalfen said it was rare for defendants to appear in court via live video rather than in person and is usually reserved for hospitalized patients.
New York Judge Juan Merchan decided to hold Trump’s second hearing on the criminal charges in this manner to avoid a repeat of the April 4 collapse of the security process that accompanied his personal impeachment. He pleaded not guilty to 34 counts falsification of business records Silent Payment Investigation Adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.
Trump attended the hearing Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago home, with attorney Todd Branch by his side. He was greeted by Judge Merchants, prosecutors and another Trump lawyer from New York, and dozens of reporters watched his performance in court.
During the proceedings, Mirchan set March 25, 2024, as the trial start date.
Trump sat at a table in front of two American flags with his hands tied in front of him, wearing a dark blue suit and tie with red, white and blue stripes. He said little as Mermoney reviewed the protective orders he had put in place — rules that prevented Trump from releasing, or even possessing, most of the evidence that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would provide to Trump’s lawyers.
The order means Trump cannot speak publicly or post on social media any material that has not been made public once he is handed over to his team by prosecutors.
Trump, do you have a copy of this protective order? asked the judge.
“Yes, I know,” Trump replied, picking up the documents in front of him.
Mercan ordered Trump to have access to some of what prosecutors called “limited publication material” only in the presence of his lawyers, and he was not allowed to copy, photocopy or transcribe the documents.
Trump’s lawyers opposed the protective order, writing in a May 1 filing that it “would be an unprecedented and unusually broad stunt for a leading contender for the presidency of the United States.”
During the hearing, Blanche said: “He is very concerned that his First Amendment rights will be violated under this order. I have made it clear that this is not your intention.”
Merchan responded, “This is certainly not an isolated matter, and I certainly have no intention of impeding Mr. Trump’s ability to run for President of the United States.”
Merchian told Trump he could be punished or fined if he disobeyed the order.
The warning could carry additional ramifications for Trump, who has tested the limits in other contexts.last year it was hold Repeated failure to comply with court orders in state civil court proceedings. May 10, just one day later discover responsibility Regarding the sexual assault of author E. Jean Carroll and the smear claiming she made up the allegations, Trump said on national television that it was a “made up story.”Carroll filed documents in federal court on Monday Seeking more than $10 million Among Trump’s new injuries.
Merchant’s order also prevents Trump and his team from disclosing the names of some Manhattan DA employees before the trial begins.
In documents seeking the order on April 24, the attorney general cited Trump’s history of disparaging social media posts and statements related to other investigations, including posts about former special counsel Robert Mueller and his criticism of Trump’s actions. The investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia; the two impeachment inquiries into Trump; and the Fulton County, Georgia, investigation into alleged sabotage of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump is seeking to move the case to federal court. That request remains outstanding and the case is pending in New York state court and before a federal judge.
Ash Kalmar contributed reporting