Legal experts are once again heavily criticizing New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw former President Donald Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial, deeming his latest move against the current GOP frontrunner as entirely unnecessary and political in nature.

On Tuesday, the judge maintained a gag order on Trump, who had requested the court to lift the ban on his speech following the recent guilty verdict in his unprecedented criminal trial. The trial has ended, and the former president, who is also the presumptive GOP nominee in the 2024 presidential election, is awaiting sentencing next month. Despite this, Merchan has refused to lift the gag order until Trump’s sentencing date, July 11, which a legal expert says is “untethered from any compelling rationale.”

“You have a local New York judge effectively limiting what the leading presidential candidate can say in the months leading up to an election,” Jonathan Turley, practicing defense attorney and law professor, told Fox News Digital. “The continuation of the gag order seems untethered from any compelling rationale, particularly in light of the election.”

Turley went on to say that appellate courts are generally “highly deferential” to courtroom management-type issues like when lower court judges issue and then maintain gag orders. But he said it is “deeply concerning that Judge Merchan would continue a gag order long after the verdict has been reached and the jury dismissed the case.” He added: “Putting aside the questionable value of the continuation of the gag order, in this case, Judge Merchan is ignoring the countervailing cost for the political system.”

Fox added:

The New York Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected Trump’s bid to have the gag order against him lifted, citing that “no substantial constitutional question is directly involved.”

Trump’s lawyers cited the November presidential election and the first debate against President Biden later this month, as well as the First Amendment rights of the former president and his supporters, as reasons for the order to be lifted.

Earlier this month, the former president was found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The six-week trial was the result of charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump is set to be sentenced just days before the Republican National Convention. Merchan imposed the gag order on Trump before the trial began, prohibiting him from making or directing others to make public statements about witnesses regarding their potential participation, as well as about counsel in the case (excluding Bragg), court staff, DA staff, or their family members.

Constitutional attorney John Shu, who served in both Bush administrations, pointed out that some of New York’s highest-profile defendants were not subjected to a gag order like the 45th president.

“The Manhattan DA’s office has charged all kinds of high-profile criminal defendants throughout its history, ranging from celebrities to gangsters, such as Lucky Luciano, the head of La Commissione, and they weren’t silenced the way former President Trump was,” said Shu. “Neither was John Gotti, the former head of the Gambino crime family and known as the ‘Teflon Don,’” he added, although that was a federal case. “Say what you want about Donald Trump, but he’s not a mobster.”

“The trial is over and there’s no chance that Judge Merchan is going to vacate the verdict and grant a retrial,” Shu told the outlet. “Both the verdict and the gag order now will go through the New York state appellate system as two separate appeals.” He further noted that Trump’s attorneys have filed an expedited appeal of the gag order and that typically “anytime a litigant asks the highest court in a jurisdiction to step in and shortcut the process, it has to be something very unusual for them to agree.”

Steven Cheung, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, said in a statement, “President Trump and his legal team will continue to fight against the unconstitutional Gag Order imposed by Justice Merchan.”

“The Gag Order wrongfully silences the leading candidate for President of the United States, President Trump, at the height of his campaign. The Gag Order applies only to President Trump and not to any of his political opponents, critics, or even Crooked Joe Biden,” Cheung added, according to Fox.

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Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.