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Judge warns Michael Cohen to stop talking about Trump hush money case

The warning comes after ABC News reported that Cohen discussed the affair on TikTok.

Judge Juan Merchan issued a warning to Michael Cohen on Friday ahead of his scheduled testimony next week in former President Trump’s criminal trial, asking prosecutors to ask him to stop talking about the case after the team of Trump mentioned his amicable pursuit. statements following ABC News’ exclusive report.

“I would ask people to let Mr. Cohen know that the judge is asking him to refrain from making any further statements about this case,” Merchan said. “It comes from the bench and you communicate it on behalf of the bench.”

This came after defense attorney Todd Blanche brought up Michael Cohen’s recent statements, including his appearance on TikTok this week wearing a shirt with a photo of Trump behind bars.

“It becomes a problem every day that President Trump is not allowed to respond to this witness,” Blanche insisted. “He said on social media that he was going to stop talking and he’s not doing that.”

The government said it had already “repeatedly” asked Cohen and others not to post messages, but claimed it had no control over witnesses.

Trump is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records to hide repayment of a secret payment that Cohen, who was Trump’s lawyer at the time, made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to improve Trump’s electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election. The former president has denied any wrongdoing.

On Wednesday evening, days before he was set to speak, Cohen went live on TikTok wearing a shirt that depicted Donald Trump in an orange jumpsuit, handcuffed and behind bars, according to video of the stream reviewed by ABC News. The shirt is a product of Cohen’s show called “Mea Culpa Podcast” and retails for $32, which he has been selling since 2022.

Cohen previously said he would “stop posting anything” about Trump during the trial, but he has since appeared several times on TikTok to discuss the former president and the trial, according to Cohen’s broadcast times reviewed by ABC News.

Judge Merchan’s warning Friday comes after ABC News first reported last week that Cohen discussed the case and criticized Trump during nightly livestreams on TikTok during the trial.

During the silence hearing last week, both sides appeared to directly reference ABC News’ reporting on Cohen’s out-of-court statements and the financial benefits he gained from appearing on TikTok during the trial – this which legal experts have described as “disastrous”.

“As has been reported, because it’s true, Mr. Cohen started going on TikTok every night and literally making money — apparently you can make money — from people who do things while they watch you on TikTok,” said Trump lawyer Todd Blanche. said the judge.

Blanche then read the statement Cohen gave to ABC News in response to the story, to which Merchan nodded firmly when he heard.

Trump’s team has repeatedly argued that Trump simply responded to political attacks with his statements about Michael Cohen and others. The prosecutor’s office also mentioned Michael Cohen’s TikTok videos.

“He’s not a man who needs to be protected from the gag order,” Blanche said.

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