Here is some of the legal news making the headlines this week:

An expanded gag order in former President Donald Trump’s hush money prosecution in Manhattan bars him from criticizing the judge’s and DA’s families.

  • Last week, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan issued a gag order that prevented Trump from speaking publicly about witnesses, court staff, and jurors in the case.
  • After Trump made a series of social media posts attacking the judge’s daughter, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg asked Merchan to clarify that the order covers family members of those involved in the case. Merchan then issued a new order, writing that the initial gag order did not preclude Trump’s posts about the judge’s daughter, therefore Trump did not violate the terms of that order. However, Merchan expanded the gag order to bar future attacks on his family or the DA’s family, calling Trump’s statements “threatening, inflammatory, [and] denigrating.” Preet Bharara and Joyce Vance discussed the expanded gag order on this week’s episode of the CAFE Insider podcast.
  • In the order, Merchan warned Trump that “any violation of this Order will result in sanctions” under New York Judiciary Law. Under that law, Trump could face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail if he violates the gag order.

A federal judge rejected Hunter Biden’s efforts to dismiss his federal tax charges. 

  • Late last year, Hunter Biden was indicted on nine federal tax charges, including failure to pay taxes, filing a false tax return, and tax evasion. The charges came after a plea deal fell apart.
  • On Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi of the Central District of California rejected Hunter Biden’s eight motions to dismiss the charges against him. Biden’s arguments included, among others, immunity due to the initial plea and diversion agreement, unlawful appointment of the special counsel, and selective and vindictive prosecution. In rejecting Hunter Biden’s selective prosecution claim, Scarsi wrote Biden failed “to present a reasonable inference, let alone clear evidence, of discriminatory effect and discriminatory purpose.” Scarsi continued, “Defendant provides no facts indicating that the Government undertook charging decisions in any respect because of public statements by politicians, let alone based on Defendant’s familial and political affiliations.”  
  • Scarsi’s ruling clears the way for Hunter Biden to stand trial this summer. As of now, trial is scheduled to start on June 20. Hunter Biden also faces federal gun charges in Delaware. The judge in that case has not yet ruled on Biden’s motions to dismiss those charges, but the trial is also currently set to start in June.

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