In the wake of his indictment by Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg over his alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump has taken to social media to warn of “death & destruction” and has called on his supporters to protest in the streets.
According to Bloomberg's Zoe Tillman, the former president's choice of words are "the type of inflammatory rhetoric and case-specific commentary that has landed defendants and their lawyers — including some of Trump’s associates — in trouble with judges."
It remains possible that Trump could be issued a gag order ordering him to tone down his rhetoric about the case, but experts tell Bloomberg that such an order could have First Amendment complications.
“If Trump basically is trying to foment a riot, then I could see the court putting some limitations on him,” said Bruce Rogow, who was a former defense attorney for longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. “If there’s a threat to the administration of justice, a threat to safety, then I think the court could impose gag orders.”
On Friday, Trump took to Truth Social and called Bragg's probe a "Witch Hunt Case." He previously posted, then deleted, an image depicting himself standing behind Bragg while hoisting a baseball bat -- a post that his attorney Joe Tacopina called “ill-advised” and blamed on one of Trump’s “social media people.” As a result of his rants, a federal judge in New York ruled that a civil trial involving Trump set for next month would involve an anonymous jury since Trump’s comments had been “perceived by some as incitement to violence.”
Speaking to Bloomberg, deputy executive director and legal director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Katie Townsend, said that if a judge decides to limit what Trump and his team can publicly say about a case, the order would have to be very specific.
“It can’t be more broad than necessary,” she said. “You’re just restricting lots and lots of speech about a matter of public concern.”
Still, if Trump doesn't dial back his rhetoric, Rogow says it could have consequences.
If Trump “said something that was viewed as encouraging some either violent action or removal from office or some harm to the prosecution, I could see a court taking steps,” he said.
Read the full article over at Bloomberg.