Top House Republicans on Tuesday argued that it would be unconstitutional for a judge to put a gag order on former President Trump as the legal case against him proceeds in New York, and said such an order would “further demonstrate the weaponization of the New York justice system.”
Trump will be arraigned in New York on Tuesday afternoon, presumably for charges related to hush money payments his lawyer made that his business marked down as a legal expense. A decision by the judge to put a gag order on Trump would bar him from discussing the case, and in New Yorik violations of a gag order can lead to a $1,000 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., argued Tuesday that a gag order would be “unconstitutional.”
“To put any restrictions on the ability of President Trump to discuss his mistreatment at the hands of this politically motivated prosecutor would only further demonstrate the weaponization of the New York justice system,” the lawmakers said.
“To even contemplate stifling the speech of the former commander in chief and current candidate for President is at odds with everything America stands for,” they added.
The former president is excepted to arrive in court this afternoon for an arraignment scheduled for 2:15 p.m. before acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan. Trump was indicted last week by a grand jury following a years-long investigation Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
That investigation involved two payments made in 2016 leading up the presidential election: a $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and the $150,000 payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Those hush money payments made to both McDougal and Daniels, revealed and reported by Fox News in 2018, were allegedly made to prevent them from going public with details of alleged affairs with Trump – affairs Trump has repeatedly denied.
Those payments had been investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York and by the Federal Election Commission.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the Stormy Daniels payment in 2019. The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021.
The exact charges against Trump are unknown, as the indictment remains under seal. But Trump is expected to plead not guilty. No former or sitting president has ever been charged with a crime.
Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman contributed to this report.