Judge corrects Trump's false statement in court

CNN
3 May 202410:03

Summary

TLDRThe transcript describes a courtroom scene involving Donald Trump and his attorneys. The judge corrects a false statement made by Trump regarding a gag order that he claimed prevented him from testifying. The judge clarifies that the gag order does not impede Trump from testifying, which is a significant moment as it's the first time the judge has responded to Trump's public statements. The discussion also touches on the parameters of the gag order, the possibility of Trump testifying, and the implications of such a decision. Additionally, there's mention of a controversial tweet that Trump's attorney argues should not be admitted as evidence due to its prejudicial nature, referencing a decision related to Harvey Weinstein. The judge dismisses the relevance of the Weinstein case to the current proceedings. The summary highlights the tense atmosphere, the strategic considerations surrounding Trump's potential testimony, and the legal team's efforts to manage the case amidst the public and political scrutiny.

Takeaways

  • 🚫 **Gag Order Clarification**: The judge corrected Donald Trump's claim that a gag order prevented him from testifying, emphasizing that it does not impede his right to testify.
  • 🤔 **Judge's Response**: This is the first time the judge has directly responded to Trump's statements made outside the court, aiming to correct the public record.
  • 📰 **Media Interaction**: Trump has repeatedly mentioned the possibility of testifying, despite his claim yesterday that the gag order prevented him from doing so, which was seen as misleading.
  • 🎓 **Legal Parameters**: The judge made it clear that the gag order does not limit Trump's ability to testify, and that Trump's attorney acknowledged understanding the parameters of the order.
  • 🚨 **Sandoval Hearing**: Reference was made to a Sandoval hearing, which outlines what may be asked of a defendant if they choose to testify, focusing on prior bad acts that could impeach them.
  • 📈 **Public vs. Court Opinion**: The discussion highlighted the difference between the court of law and the court of public opinion, and how Trump's actions could influence both.
  • 🚀 **Potential Pandora's Box**: There is anticipation and speculation about the potential consequences if Trump decides to testify, as it could lead to the disclosure of a wide range of information.
  • 🔄 **Evidence Admissibility**: The Trump team argued against the admission of certain evidence, including a tweet with a photo that could be prejudicial, but the judge dismissed the relevance of a previous case related to Harvey Weinstein.
  • 🤝 **Trump's Strategy**: There is an analysis of Trump's behavior, suggesting that he may be trying to appear deferential without actually testifying, possibly to avoid opening Pandora's box.
  • 👥 **Juror Focus**: Jurors are expected to focus on the facts and scrutinize motives, which is a key element of the adversarial process and a guardrail for democracy.
  • 🤐 **Gag Order's Impact**: Some argue that the gag order may actually be beneficial for Trump, as it limits his public commentary which could potentially harm his case.

Q & A

  • What was the correction made by the judge regarding Donald Trump's assertion about the gag order?

    -The judge clarified that the gag order in place does not prevent Donald Trump from testifying in court, contrary to what Trump had falsely claimed the previous day.

  • What was Todd Blanch's reaction when Trump made the false assertion about the gag order?

    -Todd Blanch, Trump's attorney, shook his head in affirmation when Trump made the false claim about the gag order preventing him from testifying.

  • How did the judge's response to Trump's statement reflect on the court's procedures?

    -The judge's response was significant as it was the first time the judge directly addressed something Trump said outside the court to the media, effectively correcting the public record.

  • What is the purpose of the Sandoval hearing mentioned in the transcript?

    -The Sandoval hearing is a legal proceeding where the judge outlines the parameters of what questions a defendant might face if they choose to testify, including the introduction of prior bad acts that could be used to impeach them.

  • Why is the judge's clarification on the gag order important?

    -The judge's clarification is important because it corrects a public misconception and ensures that the public understands the actual scope and limitations of the gag order, which does not prevent Trump from testifying.

  • What is the significance of the judge mentioning the Harvey Weinstein case in relation to the evidence presented?

    -The judge dismissed the relevance of the Weinstein case to the current proceedings, indicating that the legal principles applied in Weinstein's case do not factor into the decision regarding the admissibility of evidence in Trump's case.

  • What is the gag order's impact on Donald Trump's public statements?

    -The gag order restricts Trump from speaking about witnesses, jurors, court staff, and their families, but he is still allowed to make almost any other public statement, including about the judge or the case in general.

  • How might Trump's decision to testify affect the case?

    -If Trump decides to testify, it could open a Pandora's box, allowing the prosecution to bring up a wide range of topics that could potentially harm Trump's defense.

  • What is the judge's role in balancing the rights of a defendant with the need to maintain a fair trial?

    -The judge must carefully balance the defendant's rights to free speech, especially considering Trump's status as a political candidate, with the need to prevent prejudicial or inflammatory statements that could affect the fairness of the trial.

  • How might the jury perceive Trump's public statements and behavior?

    -Jurors are expected to focus on the facts presented in court, but Trump's public behavior and statements could influence their perception of him, especially if they are seen as disrespectful or disruptive to the legal process.

  • What is the general expectation regarding the jury's ability to handle the case impartially?

    -There is a strong belief in the jury system's ability to ensure a fair trial. Jurors are expected to focus on the evidence and maintain an objective stance, regardless of the defendant's identity or public statements.

Outlines

00:00

📚 Judge Corrects Trump's Misunderstanding of Gag Order

The first paragraph discusses a significant moment in court where Donald Trump and his attorneys were corrected by the judge regarding the gag order. Trump had previously claimed that the gag order prevented him from testifying, which was confirmed as false by the judge. The judge's response was notable as it was a direct reaction to Trump's public statements to the media. The paragraph also touches on the possibility of Trump testifying, referencing a previous hearing (Sandoval hearing) where the parameters for what could be asked of Trump if he chose to testify were outlined. The discussion suggests that Trump's claim about the gag order was misleading and part of a political strategy, and highlights the judge's role in correcting the public record.

05:01

🚫 Gag Order's Limitations and Trump's Compliance

The second paragraph focuses on the specifics of the gag order and Trump's adherence to it. It clarifies that the gag order is not as restrictive as the term 'gag' might imply, allowing Trump to speak freely about most topics, with the exception of witnesses, jurors, court staff, and their families. The paragraph notes that Trump has not technically violated the gag order and suggests that his public comments are aimed at his supporters. It also discusses the absence of cameras in the courtroom and the potential impact of this on public perception. The paragraph further addresses the strategic considerations behind Trump's communication, the judge's handling of the case, and the potential influence of the jury. It concludes with a reflection on the importance of the jury system and the democratic process.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Gag Order

A gag order is a legal restraint on the press or individuals, preventing public discussion of information relating to a case. In the video, it's mentioned that this does not prevent Donald Trump from testifying, which was a false assertion made by him. The gag order is a significant aspect of the video's narrative as it sets the boundaries for what can and cannot be publicly discussed regarding the case.

💡Testifying

Testifying refers to the act of giving evidence as a witness in a court of law. It is a key concept in the video as there is a discussion about whether or not Trump can or will testify in the court case. The possibility of Trump testifying is a focal point of the legal and media analysis presented in the transcript.

💡Judge's Correction

This refers to the judge's action to correct a false statement made by Trump regarding his ability to testify due to the gag order. The judge's correction is significant as it publicly contradicts Trump's claim, setting the record straight in the court proceedings and for the public's understanding.

💡

💡Trump's Attorney

Trump's attorney, Todd Blanch, is mentioned in the context of affirming Trump's understanding of the gag order. The role of the attorney is pivotal as they represent Trump in court, and their actions and statements can influence the case's direction and public perception.

💡Sandoval Hearing

A Sandoval hearing is a legal proceeding where the court determines what prior bad acts may be admitted into evidence to impeach a witness. In the video, it is referenced to illustrate the judge's earlier clarification on what evidence might be permissible if Trump were to testify. This concept is integral to understanding the strategic considerations surrounding Trump's potential testimony.

💡Public Opinion

Public opinion refers to the collective views of the public on a particular matter. The video discusses the court of public opinion in contrast to the actual jury in the case. It is suggested that Trump may be more concerned about influencing public opinion than the legal proceedings themselves, which is a significant aspect of the narrative as it touches on the intersection of law and public perception.

💡Pandora's Box

Pandora's box is a metaphor referring to a situation where one action or decision leads to an unstoppable sequence of events or consequences. In the video, the phrase is used to describe the potential implications if Trump decides to testify, suggesting that once he starts answering questions, it could lead to unforeseen and potentially damaging revelations.

💡Harvey Weinstein Decision

The Harvey Weinstein decision refers to a legal ruling related to Weinstein's case that is mentioned in the context of whether it could influence the current case involving Trump. The judge's dismissal of its relevance shows the careful consideration of precedent in legal arguments and how different cases can be invoked in court.

💡

💡Jury

A jury is a group of people sworn to render a verdict in a trial based on evidence presented. The video discusses the jury's role and their focus on facts, emphasizing the importance of the jury system in a democratic society. The jury's perception and reaction to the proceedings is a key element in understanding the potential outcome of the trial.

💡Adversarial Process

The adversarial process is a legal system where two opposing sides present their cases to an impartial third party, such as a judge or jury. In the video, it is highlighted as a key guardrail for democracy, with the jury's role being to scrutinize the motives and facts presented by both sides. This concept is central to the video's theme of the balance between legal procedure and the rights of the defendant.

Highlights

Judge corrected Donald Trump's false assertion that a gag order prevents him from testifying.

Trump's attorney, Todd Blanch, affirmed Trump's ability to testify despite the gag order.

The judge's response is the first time he has directly addressed Trump's public statements to the media.

Since the gag order, Trump has suggested he might testify, contradicting his previous claim.

The judge clarified that the gag order does not limit Trump's right to testify.

Discussion of the Sandoval hearing, which outlines parameters for questioning if Trump chooses to testify.

Judge's decision not to limit Trump's testimony rights reflects understanding of the gag order parameters.

Potential strategic reasons for Trump's reluctance to testify, described as opening 'Pandora's box'.

Argument that a tweet from The Washington Post should not be admitted due to prejudicial content.

Trump's team cites an appeals court decision related to Harvey Weinstein as a reason to exclude evidence.

Judge dismisses the Weinstein decision as irrelevant to the current case.

Trump's claim that the gag order prevents him from testifying is deemed 'outrageous' and 'off base'.

Gag order limitations explained, noting Trump can speak freely about most topics except witnesses, jurors, etc.

Trump's compliance with the gag order noted, with no violations reported.

Concerns about the lack of cameras in the courtroom, affecting public perception.

Trump's selective targeting of individuals in his public statements, avoiding mention of certain witnesses.

Blanche argues against the inclusion of a problematic true social post from Trump, claiming it was not a threat to witnesses.

Judge's balancing act between Trump's rights as a political candidate and the need to maintain a fair trial.

Jurors' focus on facts and the importance of the jury system as a key element of democracy.

Transcripts

00:00

Something really important just happened

00:01

as Elie was laying

00:02

all of that out for us,

00:03

which is that

00:04

as soon as Donald Trump

00:05

and his attorneys got in the courtroom,

00:06

the judge corrected

00:08

what Donald Trump falsely asserted

00:09

yesterday when he left the courtroom,

00:11

which is that

00:11

because of the gag order

00:12

that's in place,

00:13

it prevents him from testifying,

00:15

something that Todd Blanch, Trump's

00:16

attorney, shook his head

00:17

and affirmation at, as Trump said, that

00:19

and when Trump entered the courtroom

00:20

this morning, the judge said,

00:21

no, it doesn't

00:22

it doesn't prevent you from testifying.

00:23

Yeah, this was fascinating

00:25

because this is the first time

00:26

we've seen

00:26

the judge respond really to

00:27

something that Trump has said

00:29

outside the court when he addresses

00:30

the media

00:31

and is clearly correcting the record.

00:32

He said, no,

00:33

this gag order does not prevent

00:35

you from testifying.

00:36

And we know that since

00:37

the gag order has been in place,

00:38

Trump has also repeatedly said

00:40

that it's possible that he might testify.

00:42

So it felt like yesterday's

00:43

statement was intellectually dishonest.

00:46

A little bit of politicking at the mikes.

00:48

There

00:48

But it's interesting

00:49

that the judge

00:49

took a moment

00:50

to set the record straight and say, no,

00:52

that's absolutely not true.

00:53

Yeah,

00:53

because when we had this gag order

00:55

hearing last week, Laura,

00:56

I mean,

00:56

the judge was making clear

00:58

that Trump understood

00:59

what the parameters of the gag

01:01

order were.

01:01

Trump's attorney affirmed that, yes,

01:02

he did know.

01:03

And clearly, there's nothing in it

01:05

that Trump himself

01:06

cannot choose to testify

01:07

that he can testify if he wants to.

01:09

He absolutely can.

01:10

And they even went further

01:11

this remember, there was a hearing

01:13

called the Sandoval

01:14

hearing that took place

01:14

a few weeks ago at this point now,

01:16

where the judge was saying

01:17

here are the parameters of what people

01:19

might be able to ask you

01:21

if you do take the stand.

01:22

Now, the Sandoval hearing

01:23

is a way of saying,

01:24

here's your

01:25

I notice defendant,

01:26

if you want to testify

01:27

there are things

01:28

we might be able to bring in

01:29

but are not the same charge conduct,

01:31

but prior bad acts.

01:32

And these might be used to

01:33

what they call impeach you.

01:34

Other words,

01:35

point out inconsistencies

01:37

or give the jury

01:37

an insight and some kind of M.O.

01:39

The judge would not have done

01:40

that, would not have gone

01:41

through the process

01:42

that he intended to actually limit

01:43

the ability of a defendant to testify.

01:45

And, of course,

01:45

the whole reason he's doing

01:47

this is because

01:47

he knows the court of public opinion.

01:49

That's not these 18 jurors.

01:51

If he wants to testify, it's

01:53

well within his rights

01:54

and whether he will.

01:55

Every I mean, I'm almost salivating

01:57

right now as a former prosecutor,

01:58

thinking about a defendant

01:59

taking the stand,

02:00

because you can bring out so many things.

02:02

It's Pandora's box.

02:03

And once that door is open,

02:05

it really cannot be closed

02:06

that you really, really careful.

02:07

That's why he wants to get ahead of it.

02:09

He wants to appear deferential

02:10

and yet not do it.

02:11

And we're seeing right now

02:12

there's an argument

02:13

that from Todd Blanch, a

02:14

tweet from The Washington Post

02:16

should not be admitted

02:17

because it includes a photo of Trump,

02:18

Billy Bush

02:19

and one of the women in the Access

02:20

Hollywood video, which, of course,

02:22

they cannot show it to prejudicial.

02:24

This is fascinating.

02:25

Another first this is the first time

02:26

the decision, the appeals court

02:28

decision related to Harvey

02:29

Weinstein has been brought up

02:30

just a moment ago.

02:31

The Trump team, while they're arguing

02:33

about why this evidence

02:34

shouldn't come in, cites that decision.

02:36

But the judge knocked it down

02:38

saying, quote, The Weinstein decision

02:39

really doesn't factor into this.

02:41

This is something that a lot of sources

02:43

in Trump circles have been raising.

02:45

Whether that decision

02:47

related to Harvey Weinstein's conviction,

02:49

whether that could

02:49

potentially help Trump here

02:51

when it comes to bringing

02:52

in certain pieces of evidence.

02:54

But the judge making it clear here

02:55

he doesn't see it that way.

02:57

Yeah, we'll see what the argument is

02:58

that they're making here.

02:59

Obviously, the Weinstein decision made

03:00

in recent weeks was a huge overturn

03:03

of his conviction.

03:04

And Jim, obviously,

03:05

following all of this closely

03:06

as this witness

03:07

that was on the stand

03:08

when court ended yesterday

03:09

is expected to retake the stand

03:11

as Trump's attorneys

03:12

are going to continue

03:13

their line of questioning.

03:14

We'll see who else takes the stand today.

03:17

Yeah.

03:17

Should be another lively day of testimony, Caitlin,

03:20

maybe some surprises.

03:21

Maybe we'll finally see some witnesses.

03:22

I think that everybody has been

03:24

waiting for at this point.

03:25

Ellie, let me go to you first.

03:26

Let's let's button up

03:27

what they were just talking

03:28

about a few moments ago.

03:30

We have Trump coming in

03:33

yesterday saying, you know,

03:35

because of this gag order,

03:36

I can't testify.

03:37

Apparently, a few moments ago,

03:38

he clean that up, try to clarify it.

03:40

Let's play a little bit

03:40

of what Trump said yesterday.

03:42

Talk about on the other side

03:43

and then get into what

03:43

the judge just said.

03:44

Right.

03:47

Well, I'm not allowed to testify.

03:48

I'm under a gag order.

03:50

I guess I can't even testify and not.

03:53

We're going to be appealing the gag order

03:54

I'd love to answer that question.

03:56

It's a very easy question.

03:58

The easiest question so far,

04:00

but I'm not allowed to testify

04:02

because this judge was totally conflicted

04:04

it has to be under

04:05

an unconstitutional gag order.

04:07

Nobody's ever had that before.

04:10

And we don't like it that it's not fair.

04:13

Really?

04:13

I like it when he turns to Todd Blanch

04:15

and the top branch

04:16

nods and shakes his head. No,

04:19

what to say.

04:20

I guess some lives have to be cleaned up.

04:22

And that's what he did this morning.

04:23

And then the judge just a few moments ago

04:25

said, no,

04:25

you do have the right to testify.

04:27

Of course,

04:28

water has nothing to do with it.

04:29

Good gracious.

04:31

The statement by Donald

04:32

Trump is so outrageous

04:34

so off base, it's

04:35

hard to know where to begin.

04:36

But the gag order has nothing to do

04:38

with 0.0 to do

04:39

with Donald Trump's ability to testify.

04:41

He has the right to testify.

04:42

He has the right not to testify.

04:44

There will be no limits on that. Right.

04:46

By the way, the gag order, let's just understand,

04:47

because I always think this

04:49

the name gag order is overly suggestive

04:52

gag to suggest you can't talk at all

04:54

He can say almost anything he wants.

04:56

He just has to lay off of witnesses,

04:57

jurors, court staff and families.

04:59

I mean, we hear him going on rants

05:01

almost nightly.

05:02

He did this morning.

05:03

He did last night.

05:03

About the judge, about the D.A.,

05:05

about the indictment.

05:06

That's all totally fine.

05:08

So it's quite a limited gag order.

05:09

I think it's worth noting he's

05:10

actually not violated the gag order.

05:12

They should have one of those signs up

05:13

has not violated the gag order.

05:15

I think we're on ten days now.

05:16

So I don't know.

05:17

Maybe he understands

05:18

and is complying now.

05:19

But Jamie,

05:20

it seems to me

05:21

the reason why he said that yesterday

05:22

and he says stuff like this out

05:24

on the campaign trail as well,

05:25

he thinks he knows

05:26

his supporters are watching. Right.

05:28

He knows that he knows are watching.

05:30

This is one of the problems

05:31

with not having cameras in the courtroom,

05:34

not even having audio

05:36

the way we do with the Supreme Court.

05:38

He comes out at the start of the day,

05:41

end of the day.

05:42

And that message goes out yesterday

05:45

in addition to the gag order.

05:47

He was saying things

05:48

like he just couldn't talk.

05:49

I mean, it gets completely convoluted.

05:52

But to Ellie's point

05:56

Judge Mershon

05:56

was criticized

05:57

for sort of holding on the gag order.

06:00

It does seem to be working

06:02

and he has not ruled.

06:04

So he came out this morning

06:06

and we got the usual round of grievances.

06:09

He attacked the judges, the D.A.,

06:11

President Biden, but notably,

06:13

he did not attack Michael Cohen.

06:15

Other witnesses,

06:16

no mention of the jurors.

06:20

It is always fascinating.

06:23

He's really transparent.

06:24

You know, what's getting under his skin?

06:27

What did he say?

06:29

The judge is allowing salacious testimony

06:32

and our side isn't getting anything

06:35

But then Donald Trump pivot

06:37

a few minutes later.

06:38

He says the case is going fine.

06:41

Yeah, I do want to draw attention

06:42

to what's happening right now

06:44

because what we're seeing is Blanche

06:46

arguing that a specific true

06:47

social from last August

06:49

should not come into evidence.

06:51

And that true social actually

06:52

was a problematic for Donald Trump.

06:55

In his federal cases as well.

06:56

Jack Smith filed something.

06:58

Now, what he said in that true

06:59

social was,

06:59

if you go after me, I'm coming after you.

07:01

Jack Smith

07:02

at the time

07:03

raised this with a judge

07:04

saying that he was threatening witnesses.

07:06

The Trump team

07:07

scrambled to say

07:08

this had nothing to do with witnesses.

07:09

This was about news reports

07:11

that someone was spending money

07:12

against him in the campaign.

07:13

Now it appears it's coming up again

07:15

and they're having a conversation

07:17

about whether or not

07:18

this should be included.

07:19

Blanche trying to say once more

07:21

this was not about witnesses.

07:22

I think it's very interesting

07:23

that now we're seeing the cross over

07:25

in all of his legal cases, particularly

07:27

because Donald Trump tends

07:29

to put his foot in his mouth,

07:30

something that could cause trouble.

07:32

How do you

07:33

I mean, what do you think about how the judge

07:34

is handling this balancing act?

07:36

I mean, look, it's

07:37

an incredibly tight rope.

07:38

He's on a tightrope.

07:39

It is incredibly hard balancing act.

07:40

They made a reference

07:42

to second,

07:42

folks might have seen reference

07:43

to Marlon no,

07:44

the standard in New York

07:46

for bringing in prior

07:47

acts of an individual and so on.

07:50

And there are any number

07:51

of very gray areas

07:53

that judges have to sort out.

07:54

One, in this context of things

07:56

they did in the past,

07:57

their behavior,

07:57

these prior bad accidents,

07:59

something to be hearing,

07:59

but also how you strike a balance

08:01

between speech

08:03

that's protected,

08:03

particularly for a political candidate.

08:05

And frankly,

08:06

the judge in his gag order

08:07

referenced the fact

08:09

that he wanted

08:09

to be mindful of the fact

08:11

that the former president is himself

08:12

a candidate for office.

08:13

But to Ellis point, the former president

08:17

really can say

08:18

virtually anything in the world,

08:20

including very explicit

08:22

things about the judge or even

08:24

the elected district attorney

08:26

and has seemed to behave better.

08:28

I would note that

08:29

in the context

08:29

of another civil suit than a civil suit

08:32

in the state of New York recently,

08:35

it was after the imposition of sanctions

08:37

on the president.

08:38

They actually start behaving and then.

08:40

Yeah.

08:40

Carol, how do you think the jurors are reacting

08:42

to all of this?

08:42

Well,

08:43

let me just say about the gag order.

08:45

I think the judge is actually doing Trump

08:46

a favor.

08:48

You know, Trump has two fronts here.

08:50

He has the trial and he has the election.

08:52

But for as far as the trial is concerned,

08:54

with the evidence that I've seen,

08:56

if he can just zip it,

08:58

he's way better off.

08:59

So the judge, by silencing him

09:01

and threatening punishment

09:02

the quieter he is,

09:03

I think the better that he does.

09:05

In terms of

09:06

how are jurors reacting to this?

09:08

I'm sure they're sponges.

09:10

Just like Jamie said,

09:12

you know, we're just peering

09:13

through the courthouse door

09:14

to try and see what's going on.

09:15

The jurors are seeing everything

09:17

they're going to see

09:17

when somebody has a vein in their temple

09:19

that's throbbing because they're stress,

09:21

they're going to see

09:21

when people get angry.

09:23

But they're really focused on facts

09:24

and jurors.

09:25

I am a huge proponent of the jury system.

09:28

And when people talk about democracy

09:30

dying, well,

09:30

as long as we have criminal trials

09:32

and criminal defendants

09:33

have rights, no matter who they are,

09:35

we have a thriving democracy.

09:36

And these jurors

09:37

are going to do their job

09:39

and they're going to focus on the facts

09:40

and they're going

09:40

to scrutinize the motives

09:42

because that's

09:43

what an adversarial process

09:44

forces them to do.

09:46

One of the key guardrails

09:47

for our democracy.

09:48

We'll see if we can keep Trump reined in.

09:50

When you said

09:50

if he can zip it,

09:51

I thought I heard you say

09:53

it's hard for him. Right.

09:55

But that word,