New York appeals court declines to hear Trump's challenge to gag order in hush money case

The gag order imposed on Trump by state Judge Juan Merchan is still in effect.

Donald Trump speaks to the media after leaving court
Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images

The New York Court of Appeals on Tuesday declined to hear former President Donald Trump's appeal of the gag order in the hush money case in which he was convicted last month.

The court said it was dismissing the appeal "upon the ground that no substantial constitutional question is directly involved."

That means the gag order imposed on Trump by state Judge Juan Merchan is still in effect.

Trump first asked the appeals court in mid-May, before he was found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, to eliminate the gag order that has restricted Trump from making comments about members of the jury, witnesses, court staff and prosecutors.

Trump repeatedly railed against the gag order throughout the trial, which lasted about a month and a half. The former president was found to have violated the order mutiple times, which led to Merchan fining Trump $10,000 and threatening to put him in jail if it happened again.

In early June, Trump attorney Todd Blanche sent a letter to Merchan requesting that he terminate the gag order, arguing that “because the trial has concluded, the stated bases for the gag order no longer exist.” The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, opposed the request by Trump’s legal team.

The jury in the case found Trump guilty on May 30 of all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, which marked the first time a former U.S. president was convicted of a crime.

Following the conviction, Trump may have further violated the gag order by making comments about two witnesses in the case: Robert Costello, who testified for the defense, and Michael Cohen, the prosecution's star witness and Trump's former lawyer, though Trump didn't explicitly name him.

The former president is scheduled to be sentenced in the case on July 11. On June 10, he met virtually with a New York probation officer for a pre-sentencing interview.

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