Donald Trump
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Donald Trump's online ravings could result in a gag order if he's criminally charged in the Stormy Daniels hush money investigation.

The former president has encouraged violence against Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg with racist posts on his Truth Social platform, where he's warned of "potential death & destruction" and called the prosecutor an "animal" and "degenerate psychopath," and a judge would likely slap Trump under a gag order if he's indicted to keep him from speaking about the case, according to legal experts who spoke to Vice News.

“There is no question that the court should impose a very strict gag order, not only on the former president but anyone who he might solicit to talk on his behalf,” said Robert C. Gottlieb, a former assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DA’s office. “This isn’t a game. He has made it clear that he is willing to destroy the foundation of fair and equal justice for all in order to save his own skin.”

A group of 175 former federal prosecutors sent an open letter Sunday warning that Trump's statements could be seen as "inciting violence," and Bragg's office recently received an ominous letter with white powder and a death threat.

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“I do think if he were charged and he continued to make these kind of inflammatory public statements, he would face a gag order,” said Rebecca Roiphe, a former New York prosecutor and now an expert on prosecutorial ethics at New York Law School. “Judges generally give many warnings before holding a litigant in contempt, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

Gag orders are fairly routine in criminal cases, especially when a defendant is making apparent threats or trying to influence witness testimony, and violations are considered to be contempt of court orders and can be punished in New York with up to a year in jail -- but Trump's status as a presidential candidate complicates matters.

“I think a judge would be likely to ask all of the parties to refrain from making public statements about the case, but as a practical matter, when the defendant is a politician, the judge will also be concerned about restricting political speech,” said Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. “I very much doubt that he would be jailed for speaking about the case.”

But the ex-president's behavior so far would likely not be tolerated for long by a judge overseeing a criminal prosecution.

“Whether you’re a former president, or a mobster, or anyone else, if you threaten harm, you initially must be gagged," Gottlieb said, "and if you repeat the threats, then you should be charged with contempt of court."