By Karen Freifeld
(Reuters) – Donald Trump will appear in a New York courtroom by video on Tuesday, where a judge is expected to make clear to him that he cannot publicly disclose certain evidence in the criminal case against him over hush money paid to a porn star.
Justice Juan Merchan in Manhattan state court agreed to let the former U.S. president appear remotely, avoiding a repeat of the heavy security required on April 4 when Trump was arraigned and pleaded not guilty in person. Prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers will appear in Merchan’s courtroom.
The restrictions on Trump concern grand jury minutes, witness statements, and other materials that prosecutors are required to turn over to the defense to prepare for trial.
In a May 8 order, Merchan barred disclosing those materials to third parties, including to news outlets and on social media.
Prosecutors have said the order was needed because of Trump’s history of attacks on social media, and the risk that witnesses might be harassed.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in the 2024 election, would remain free to speak about most evidence in the case, which comes from the defense, the judge said at a hearing earlier this month.
Prosecutors have said they will give Trump’s lawyers the additional materials once he is advised what he can and cannot do with them.
Trump faces 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records to conceal reimbursements to his then-lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
The payment was allegedly in exchange for her silence prior to the 2016 presidential election about a sexual encounter she claimed to have with Trump, which Trump denies.
Prosecutors have said the reimbursements concealed violations of New York election law and flouted campaign contribution limits under federal election law.
Merchan has asked both sides to agree on a trial date in February or March 2024. Trump is also seeking to move the case to federal court.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
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