Toobin: Trump social media post ‘clearly’ violated gag order

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Wednesday that former President Trump’s recent social media post “clearly” violated the gag order in his hush money criminal case.

Trump’s post, quoting a Fox News host, reads: “’They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury,’ Jesse Watters.”

In an interview on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Toobin said the post was not permissible under the gag order, which was expanded after the former president took aim at the New York judge’s daughter.

“I think it’s false, but more importantly, it’s clearly, I think, an attempt to intimidate jurors,” he told the host, “And it is clearly barred by the gag order in this case.”

“Donald Trump doesn’t seem to realize he is now a criminal defendant, and criminal defendants have different and lesser rights than ordinary citizens,” Toobin continued. “They are not allowed to interfere in the trial process — especially when there is a gag order that specifically addresses attempts to intimidate jurors. I mean, it is just not permissible.”

Under the gag order, Trump is barred from publicly attacking witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, jurors and the judge’s family — but it does not apply to Judge Juan Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The former president has appealed the order, arguing it unconstitutionally restrains his free speech while running for president and mounting his defense.

Prosecutors this week already asked the judge to fine Trump $3,000, pointing to three separate social media posts in which he allegedly appeared to attack witnesses.

Merchan did not immediately rule on the request following a court break in proceedings. He opted instead to set an April 23 hearing date, when he’ll hear arguments on the prosecution’s ask.

Toobin, in the interview, said he thinks the recent post might compel the judge to move up the hearing, noting the importance of the integrity of the jury.

“This in many respects is much more serious because judges take the jury and the integrity of the jury as almost sacrosanct,” the analyst said. “And the idea that he’s intimidating the jury is something that I think Judge Merchan is going to be very concerned about.”

Trump currently faces 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records in connection to reimbursements to his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, who paid porn actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about an alleged affair she had with the former president ahead of the 2016 election.

The trial, the first criminal trial of a former or sitting president, will resume Thursday after a one-day break.

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