NY's top court declines to hear Trump's appeal in hush money case

New York’s top court declined on Tuesday to hear Donald Trump’s gag order appeal, leaving the restrictions in place following his felony conviction last month. The Court of Appeals found that the order does not raise "substantial" constitutional issues that would warrant an immediate intervention.

The decision is the latest legal setback for the Republican former president, who has repeatedly railed against the gag order, which prevents him from commenting on witnesses, jurors and others who were involved in the hush money case. But it could be short lived. The trial judge, Juan M. Merchan, is expected to rule soon on a defense request to lift the gag order.

Former US President Donald Trump, left, and Emil Bove, attorney for former US President Donald Trump, right, at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US, on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Trump’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal with the state’s high court on May 15, during the former president’s landmark criminal trial. They argued that the gag order restricted Trump’s "core political speech on matters of central importance at the height of his Presidential campaign."

But the Court of Appeals disagreed. In a decision list posted on Tuesday, the court said it would not automatically hear the case, writing that "no substantial constitutional question is directly involved."


Trump found guilty on all 34 counts in hush money trial

Former President Donald Trump is convicted of all 34 counts in his New York hush money trial.

Trump’s lawyers were essentially seeking a shortcut to expedite their appeal, which was rejected by the state’s mid-level appeals court last month. They now have 30 days to file a motion for leave to appeal, according to court spokesperson Gary Spencer.

Merchan imposed the gag order on March 26, a few weeks before the start of the trial, after prosecutors raised concerns about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s tendency to attack people involved in his cases.

During the trial, Merchan held Trump in contempt of court and fined him $10,000 for violating the gag order. The judge threatened to put Trump in jail if he did it again.

The order remains in effect weeks after the conclusion of the trial, which ended with Trump’s conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. Daniels claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier, which he denies. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.