The New York judge overseeing the Manhattan district attorney’s case against Donald Trump warned the former president on Tuesday to “refrain” from social media posts with the potential to incite violence.
Judge Juan Merchan’s warning comes after Trump called for protests ahead of his indictment last month and suggested that charges could result in “potential death & destruction.”
Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche said in court during Tuesday’s arraignment that the former president had “responded forcefully” and was “frustrated” and “upset” by the request.
“Imagine anybody in this courtroom who was in that position,” Blanche said, adding, “Every one of these posts are not threats.”
Blanche also criticized Michael Cohen’s media appearances. Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and longtime fixer, made the 2016 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels that resulted in the criminal charges brought against the former president on Tuesday.
The judge told Trump’s legal team that he does not “share your view” on the former president’s social media posts, but asked the Manhattan district attorney’s office to talk with its witnesses as well.
“There’s only so much we can do,” Assistant District Attorney Chris Conroy said in response, adding they have talked with Cohen and will continue to do so.
Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.