A trial date of March 25, 2024, has been set by the New York court presiding over the criminal case brought against former President Trump, only a few weeks following “Super Tuesday” in the Republican primary.
Todd Blanche, Trump’s lawyer, and Trump virtually appeared before Judge Juan Merchan.
Merchan went through the conditions of a protective order that prevents Trump from posting any evidence that the prosecutor shares with his counsel on social networking sites during the hearing.
The protection order stated that without the previous consent of the Court, evidence may not be published or uploaded to “any news or social media sites, which includes but is not limited to Truth Social, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, or YouTube.”
Trump claimed that by enforcing the restraining order, the court had “violated” his First Amendment rights. Additionally, he charged Merchan with “ELECTION INTERFERENCE” for holding the trial during the Republican primary.
On Truth Social, Trump wrote:
“I just had a hearing before the New York County Supreme Court where I think my First Amendment rights, namely ‘Freedom of Speech,’ have been infringed, and they imposed a trial date of March 25th upon us, right in the heart of Primary season. This is very unjust, but that is precisely what the Radical Left Democrats want. Election interference is what it’s called, and our country has never seen anything like it before.”
In the court hearing this week, Blanche conveyed Trump’s worries over the protection order.
“President Trump is currently running for president of the United States and is currently the top contender,” Blanche informed the court. “His First Amendment rights are being infringed, which worries him greatly.”
The protection order, according to Merchan, is not a gag order.
“It’s not a gag order,” and Merchan said that “the goal was not to obstruct Trump’s presidential campaign. He is free to confront these accusations and defend himself. He is free to run for office. Anything he does that does not contravene the requirements of this protection order is permissible.”
Blanche informed the court, “He realizes that he needs to abide by the order and knows that if he does not, he is breaching your order.”
Merchan said that “she had no intention of impeding Trump’s efforts to run for president of the United States.”
Prosecutors provided further evidence to Trump’s lawyers. Merchan mandated that any defense motions be submitted by Trump’s counsel by August 29 and that the prosecution reply by October 10 at the latest.
The following hearing is scheduled for January 4, 2024.