Trump barred from discussing witnesses, others in hush money case by judge. (Part-2)

Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 charges of fabricating company documents last April, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. His lawyers claim the Cohen payments were legal fees and not a coverup. He denies having sex with Daniels.

At his arraignment, Merchan warned Trump not to instigate violence or endanger safety, but did not muzzle him. Merchan stated at a later hearing that “I’m bending over backwards and straining to make sure that he is given every opportunity possible to advance his candidacy and to be able to speak in furtherance of his candidacy.”

Merchan worries about Trump's remarks disturbing the historic trial as jury selection approaches. Merchan ordered juror identities kept private earlier in month. The court said Trump will have access to them, but if he leaks the names or harasses or disrupts jurors, he risks losing access.

Merchan's gag order isolates scores of defendants from Trump's social media, courts, and campaign rallies. Trump's grousing to TV cameras as he entered and left the courtroom became routine during his New York civil fraud trial last year.

At a press conference after Merchan set the trial date on Monday, Trump called prosecutor Matthew Colangelo a “radical left from DOJ” sent to oversee the Trump case “by Biden and his thugs.” The judge referenced their words in ruling.

Trump has consistently criticized the hush-money case. Before his indictment last year, he warned of “potential death & destruction” on social media and posted a photo of himself clutching a baseball bat next to Bragg. He called Cohen a “convicted felon, disbarred lawyer, with zero credibility” and teased Daniels.

In December, a federal appeals court panel upheld Trump's gag order in his Washington, D.C., election interference lawsuit but allowed him to disparage special counsel Jack Smith, who brought it. The New York gag order excluded Bragg after that ruling.

Trump was fined $15,000 for twice violating a gag order after criticizing the judge's chief law clerk on social media during the fraud trial. In January, a federal judge threatened Trump with removal from a civil trial on writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation allegations after he said “it is a witch hunt” and “it really is a con job.”

Stay turned for development