Lawyers for Donald Trump have asked the judge overseeing the Manhattan district attorney’s hush money case against the former president not to “muzzle” him with a protective order proposed by the prosecution.
“The People have proposed what would be an unprecedented and extraordinarily broad muzzle on a leading contender for the presidency of the United States,” Trump’s lawyers said in a filing on Monday.
“Prohibiting President Trump from publicly discussing the evidence against him … infringes on President Trump’s constitutional right to make his case to the American people for why he should be elected President,” they added.
Manhattan prosecutors have asked for a protective order that would block Trump from disseminating evidence obtained during discovery in the case, pointing to the former president’s history of attacking those involved in legal proceedings against him.
“This pattern, particularly given that Defendant is currently under federal investigation for his handling of classified materials, gives rise to significant concern that Defendant will similarly misuse grand jury and other sensitive materials here,” prosecutors wrote.
However, Trump’s lawyers dismissed his previous attacks on his former personal attorney Michael Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels — both witnesses in the case — claiming that they have personally maligned Trump as well.
They also argued in the court filing that the protective order bars Trump from addressing the allegations against him throughout the campaign and unfairly applies to him alone and not the prosecution or its witnesses.
“This is, in practice, an attempt to gag a leading candidate for the Presidency of the United States and it is a clear infringement upon the First Amendment rights of the President Trump and the American electorate,” Trump’s attorneys said in the filing.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for his role in a $130,000 hush money payment that Cohen made to Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.