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Trump's lawyers ask court in hush money case to lift gag order

Former President Donald Trump approaches reporters after hearing the verdict in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Thursday. On Tuesday, his attorneys asked the court to lift a gag order that had been placed on their client during the trial. Pool Photo by Justin Lane/UPI
Former President Donald Trump approaches reporters after hearing the verdict in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Thursday. On Tuesday, his attorneys asked the court to lift a gag order that had been placed on their client during the trial. Pool Photo by Justin Lane/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- Lawyers for Donald Trump have asked a New York district judge to terminate a partial gag order placed on the former president now that his hush money trial is over.

Trump was convicted Thursday of interfering in the 2016 presidential election by paying hush money to a porn star to keep an alleged affair they had concealed from the voting public. He is the first president to be convicted of a crime and is scheduled to be sentenced July 11 when he faces up to four years' imprisonment.

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During the trial, a partial gag order was placed on Trump, barring him from speaking publicly about the judge, witnesses, jurors and others tied to the case -- a gag order Trump was found by the court to have violated 10 times during the proceedings.

Prosecutors had asked the court for the order to protect the integrity of the trial, while Trump's defense refuted that their client as a presidential candidate needs to defend himself from allegations made in the court in public.

With the trial concluded, Trump's defense asked Judge Juan Merchan in a letter Tuesday to remove the gag order, stating the conditions it was applied under no longer exist.

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"Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump -- who remains the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election -- and the American people," Trump's attorneys said.

The attorneys said Trump's constitutional mandate for "unrestrained campaign advocacy" is even stronger due to President Joe Biden's campaign rallying outside the courthouse on May 28, comment's Biden has since made about the verdict, attacks against the former president by government witnesses Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels and the presidential debate scheduled for June 27.

"Unless the court grants the requested relief based on this letter and any response from the government, we further request an opportunity to submit briefing on this issue," they said.

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