During the Tuesday afternoon arraignment, Merchan warned Trump and his team, as well as the opposing counsel, not to make social media posts that could incite violence.
Early reports indicated the judge was considering imposing the order on parties in the case which would have blocked Trump and his team from talking publicly about the trial at the risk of potentially being found in contempt of court.
Criminal defense attorney Duncan Levin, who previously served as a staffer in the Manhattan DA’s office and as a federal prosecutor, told Business Insider that it is “extremely likely” there will be a gag order.
“I think it’s not only a possibility, but it’s extremely likely that there will be a gag order in the case,” said Levin, known for representing clients including Harvey Weinstein and Anna Sorokin. “Gag orders are very common in criminal cases, particularly in cases where there is an enormous amount of pretrial publicity like this one.”
Punishment for criminal contempt, under New York law, is a fine not exceeding $1,000, jail for up to 30 days, or both.
Supporters of Trump’s questioned the legality of imposing such an order on a candidate who is actively running for president.
According to The Daily Wire, Mike Davis, the founder of the Article III Project, said gag orders “generally” protect the Sixth Amendment right of defendants to fair trials, but that does not preclude them from having First Amendment rights.
“Ordering any defendant not to speak about his charges would almost certainly violate the First Amendment,” he added in a post to Twitter. “Telling a presidential candidate he cannot respond to allegations —including media leaks — in a political prosecution is un-American.”
On Tuesday, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in Manhattan.
Following the court proceedings, the former President traveled back to Mar-a-Lago where he delivered a fiery speech slamming DA Alvin Bragg’s politically-motivated witch hunt.