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Trump fires back after judge expands gag order: ‘This judge should be recused’

Former President Trump lashed out against the New York judge overseeing his hush money criminal trial Tuesday, after he expanded a gag order in the case, arguing it is not fair when others “can talk about” him.

“I just was informed that another corrupt New York Judge, Juan Merchan, GAGGED me so that I can not talk about the corruption and conflicts taking place in his courtroom with respect to a case that everyone, including the D.A., felt should never have been brought,” Trump wrote Tuesday in a post on Truth Social. “They can talk about me, but I can’t talk about them???”

“That sounds fair, doesn’t it? This Judge should be recused, and the case should be thrown out,” he added. “There has virtually never been a more conflicted judge than this one. ELECTION INTERFERENCE at its worst!”

Justice Juan Merchan issued a ruling Monday night to expand the former president’s gag order to limit his attacks against Merchan’s daughter, Loren, who is a Democratic political consultant.

“This pattern of attacking family members of presiding jurists and attorneys assigned to his cases serves no legitimate purpose,” Merchan wrote in his ruling. “It merely injects fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings, that not only they, but their family members as well, are ‘fair game’ for Defendant’s vitriol.”

The initial gag order in the case limited his public remarks about jurors, witnesses and “family members of any counsel or staff member,” but did not extend to family members of Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

Merchan’s new gag order will include his and Bragg’s family members, at the request of the district attorney.

Loren Merchan was an executive at progressive political consulting firm Authentic Campaigns, which worked on campaigns for various Democrat leaders including Vice President Harris, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Biden — Trump’s main 2024 opponent. 

In a social media post last week, the former president reacted to an account on X, formerly Twitter, that initially appeared to belong to the judge’s daughter and had a photo illustration of an imprisoned Trump as its profile picture. 

The New York state Office of Court Administration (OCA) said last week the account was no longer associated with the judge’s daughter, adding that she deleted the account about a year ago.

Trump’s legal team previously called for the judge to recuse himself from the case due to his daughters’ work, but Merchan rejected the request after seeking guidance from the state’s judicial ethics advisory committee. 

Trump faces 34 counts in the hush money case, with the trial set to begin April 15. The charges accuse the former president of illegally falsifying business records when reimbursing his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, for making a payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to conceal an affair ahead of the 2016 election. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The former president has also levied attacks against the other judges and their family members in his other legal cases.

During his civil fraud trial, which ended earlier this year with a $464 million judgment, Trump accused the judge’s wife and son of wanting to see the former president face prison time or were financially benefitting from the proceeding. 

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