(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump asked a judge to block prosecutors from arguing at his upcoming hush money criminal trial that he tried to influence the 2016 election by paying to silence a porn star who claimed to have had an affair with him a decade earlier.

The woman, Stormy Daniels, should also be barred from testifying as a government witness, Trump argued in a court filing that seeks to significantly narrow the first criminal trial of a former president, set to start March 25 in Manhattan. If he succeeds, jurors will hear a narrative that hardly resembles the original case, which alleges Trump sought to violate election laws.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg claims Trump made payments on the eve of the 2016 election to Daniels to stop voters from hearing about the alleged affair, which Trump denies. Trump is also accused of paying to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal, whom he asked the court to block from taking the stand as well. 

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal the true nature of $130,000 in payments he directed his then-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to make to Daniels. The case is set to be the first of four criminal indictments against Trump to go to trial as he campaigns to return to the White House in the November election.

The 11th-hour bid to limit evidence and testimony also seeks to block Cohen from testifying, calling him a “liar” who has repeatedly committed perjury. Cohen pleaded guilty in November 2018 to crimes including campaign finance violations and bank fraud. Ever since, he has blamed Trump.

The new filing by Trump lawyers Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche claims the government is trying to make a fraud case out of an innocent effort by a presidential candidate to prevent “adverse publicity about himself during a campaign.”

“Candidates are not required to disclose everything about their personal life during an election and attempts by a candidate to keep certain matters personal are neither inappropriate nor illegal,” the lawyers wrote in the 47-page memo to New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

Bragg weighed in with his own raft of filings, asking the court to bar Trump from making public comments about witnesses or disclosing the identities of jurors who will hear the case. The request closely follows a gag order imposed on the former president and upheld by a federal appeals court in a separate criminal case in Washington over his alleged plot to overturn the 2016 election outcome.

If Merchan approves Bragg’s request, Trump would be barred from “making or directing others to make” statements about witnesses and from commenting on prosecutors, Bragg or court staff.

The district attorney also asked the judge to prohibit Trump from disclosing the addresses of any potential or sworn jurors to prevent “harassment” and “jury tampering.” Citing Trump’s history of public attacks, including calling Bragg a “degenerate psychopath,” and assailing judges in other cases, Bragg asked that Trump be warned he could lose certain rights, such as knowing jurors’ identities, if he makes such attacks or discloses sensitive information.

Trump is already under a protective order Merchan issued in May, which warned him and his lawyers that they risked being held in contempt if they distributed evidence from the state case to third parties, used it to attack witnesses or posted sensitive material to social media.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, called Bragg’s request “a restrictive gag order, which if granted, would impose an unconstitutional infringement on President Trump’s First Amendment rights, including his ability to defend himself, and the rights of all Americans to hear from President Trump.”

In another memo to the court, Bragg said his office hopes to include other hush money payments prosecutors say Trump directed — including a payment to a doorman who wanted to sell a story about Trump in 2015 — to show a pattern of behavior, as well as the Access Hollywood video in which Trump discusses groping women.

(Updates with prosecutors seeking to protect jurors from mistreatment.)

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