Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Donald Trump's second day in court, a virtual experience


Live from Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump was televised to an audience of one: the judge in his criminal case.

The television-star-turned-president made an unusual criminal court appearance Tuesday afternoon. The setup, in which a defendant appears via live video feed rather than in person, is exceptionally rare, and is typically used for people who are hospitalized, according to court spokesman Lucian Chalfen.

New York Judge Juan Marchen decided to conduct Trump’s second hearing on felony charges in a way that would protect the city and the court from a repeat of the disruptive security campaign that coincided with his personal indictment on April 4. In that first appearance, former President pleaded not guilty to 34 counts falsifying trade records arising from a hush-money payment check for adult film star Stormy Daniels during a 2016 campaign.

Trump sat with attorney Todd Blanche at his Mar-a-Lago home for Tuesday’s hearing. Judge Merchan, prosecutors and other Trump lawyers greeted him from New York, while dozens of reporters looked into the courtroom.

During the proceedings, Marchan set a date of March 25, 2024, for the start of the trial.

Trump, dressed in a navy blue suit and red, white and blue striped tie, sat at a table in front of two American flags with his hands folded in front of them. He added that Merchan has reviewed a protective order he imposed – rules barring Trump from promoting, or even possessing evidence Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will hand over to Trump’s lawyers.

The order means Trump cannot speak publicly, or post on social media, any material that was not already made public after prosecutors handed it over to his team.

“Mr. Trump, do you have a copy of that protective order?” the judge asked.

“Yes, I do,” Trump replied, holding up the papers in front of him.

Merchen ordered that certain information labeled “limited dissemination material” by prosecutors would be available to Trump only in the presence of his lawyers. They will not be allowed to make copies, photograph or transcribe those documents.

Trump’s lawyers opposed the protective order, writing in a May 1 filing that it would be “an unprecedented and extraordinarily broad muzzle on a major contender for the presidency of the United States.”

Blanche said at the hearing: “She is very concerned that her First Amendment rights are being violated by this order. I have made it clear that this is not your honor’s intention.”

Merchen responded, “This is certainly not a gag order and it is certainly not my intention to impede Mr. Trump’s ability to campaign for the Presidency of the United States.”

Marchen told Trump that if he violated the order, he could be banned or fined.

The warning probably holds extra weight for Trump, who has tested the limits in other cases. last year, he was held in contempt Proceeding in a state civil court for repeated failure to obey a court order. exactly one day later on 10 May he was found liable For sexual assault of author E. Jean Carroll, and for defamation for saying he fabricated the claim, Trump said on national TV that it was a “made up story”. Carroll filed papers in federal court on Monday Asking for over $10 million In new damage from Trump.

Merchan’s order also bars Trump and his team from disclosing the names of certain Manhattan DA personnel until the trial begins.

In an April 24 filing requesting the order, a prosecutor cited Trump’s defamatory social media posts and other statements related to the investigation, including posts about former special counsel Robert Mueller and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. investigation into alleged links between; Trump’s two impeachment inquiries; and an investigation into alleged efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election in Fulton County, Georgia.

Trump is seeking to take the case to federal court. That motion remains unresolved and the case is moving forward in New York state court while a federal judge considers the issue.

Reporting contributed by Ash Kalmar


Graham Cates

Graham Cates is an investigative reporter for CBS News Digital covering criminal justice, privacy issues and information security. Contact Graham at [email protected] or [email protected]