Donald Trump, who is not suspending his campaign to return to the White House in November
Donald Trump IBTimes US

The judge presiding over Donald Trump's hush-money trial in New York has broadened a gag order in response to the former president's social media attacks against his daughter.

New York Judge Juan Merchan initially imposed a gag order to limit Trump's public statements about jurors and potential witnesses in the upcoming trial set for April 15.

The latest expansion of the order on Monday now includes remarks concerning prosecutors, court staff, and their families, according to Bloomberg.

However, Trump remains unrestricted in his ability to comment on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the individual spearheading the criminal charges.

Merchan said the pattern of attacking family members of presiding jurists and attorneys assigned to Trump's cases serves "no legitimate purpose".

"It merely injects fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings, that not only they, but their family members as well, are fair game for Defendant's vitriol," Merchan wrote while expanding the order.

"It is no longer just a mere possibility or a reasonable likelihood that there exists a threat to the integrity of the judicial proceedings. The threat is very real."

He added that Trump's actions could have a chilling effect on the case, according to NBC news.

"The average observer must now, after hearing Defendant's recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well. Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself."

Following Judge Merchan's imposition of initial gag order last week, Trump made a series of posts on his social media platform.

According to CNN, Trump accused Judge Merchan of being "compromised" and publicly mentioned the judge's daughter, who reportedly works at a political consulting firm.

Trump referred to posts on X allegedly from the daughter's account, although a court spokesperson clarified that the daughter deactivated her account two years ago, indicating the posts were not hers.

Trump has contended that he is exercising his First Amendment right to self-defense and engaging in campaign speech.

Trump's legal team objected to any extension of the initial gag order, arguing that it was already overly restrictive. They hinted before Merchan's decision that they might challenge the order if it were expanded.

Trump's legal team also requested Merchan's permission to submit a recusal motion, seeking the judge's removal from the case, citing changed circumstances and newly discovered evidence. However, Merchan had previously rejected a similar recusal motion from Trump last year.