What is a protective order? Can the judge limit what Trump can say in social media and TV?
A protective order is likely to be coming Donald Trump’s way after claims of him using social media to attack prosecutors in his upcoming trials.
There has been growing speculation that Judge Merchán could impose a protective order on Trump after continued disruption by the former president.
Orignally rebuking Trump for making statements that “incite violence or create civil unrest” back in April, attacks on social media have not let up and a protective order is being considered.
Protective orders may be issued before a trial begins to prevent parties, witnesses, attorneys, or even potential jurors from discussing the aspects of a case with the media or the public. This is done to prevent the potential influence of public opinion on the trial’s outcome. Usually these are only imposed when the fairness of a trial is seen to be at risk.
“Ultimately, the burden is on the prosecution to present facts to the judge to show that such orders are necessary in these circumstances,” said Norm Eisen, legal and ethics expert and executive chair of the States United Democracy Center, in a statement to CNBC.
A protective order hearign will take place on Friday.
Can the judge limit what Trump can say about the case in social media and TV with a protective order?
In the run up to Donald Trump’s arraignment in New York back in April the former president spoke out about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who convened the grand jury that voted to indict Trump and the judge overseeing the case Juan Merchán.
While the judge said that his First Amendment are “critically important,” Trump did not shy away from insulting both him and the DA Bragg during his speech at Mar-a-Lago following the arraignment along with other prosecutors that are currently investigating the former president for other potential crimes. The Mar-a-Lago ramblings included a antisemitic trope referring to Bragg as a “George Soros backed prosecutor.”
How would a protective order affect Trump’s presidential campaign?
Trump is currently the front-runner for the Republican nomination to stand as the party’s presidential candidate in 2024. If a protective order were imposed, it would most likely be limited in nature, focused solely on speaking about the case or making inflammatory statements or posts about those who are trying him. Thus, it would not limit his ability to campaign.
Were a protective order issued, any violation of it could be ruled contempt of court. That could result in a $1,000 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail in New York.
However, depending on the type of violation other measures could potentially be put in place. In March, Trump shared an article on Truth Social which had side-by-side images of him holding a baseball bat next to another of Bragg’s face. He later erased the post.
Trump’s longtime informal advisor Roger Stone was barred from using social media in 2019 when he was found to have violated his protective order. However, being a presidential candidate there are considerations of his rights as potential president as well as the first amendment.