NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — Manhattan prosecutors urged a judge Wednesday to keep Donald Trump’s gag order in place in his hush money criminal case at least until the former president is sentenced in July.

The request comes after the defense asked that the restructions be lifted following his felony convictions last week

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo told Judge Juan M. Merchan in a letter that the Manhattan DA’s office opposes any immediate termination of the gag order, which bars Trump from commenting about witnesses, jurors and others tied to the case — but not the judge himself.

The court “has an obligation to protect the integrity of these proceedings and the fair administration of justice at least through the sentencing hearing and the resolution of any post-trial motions,” Colangelo wrote.

On Tuesday, Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and Emil Bove had asked Merchan to end the gag order, arguing there was nothing to justify “continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump” now that the trial is over.

In issuing the gag order in March, Merchan noted that prosecutors had sought it “for the duration of the trial.” Colangelo argued, however, that the order was “based not only on the need to avoid threats to the fairness of the trial itself” but also the judge’s “obligation to prevent actual harm to the integrity” of the case.

Colangelo said prosecutors favor having both sides submit written arguments to the court on the gag order issue in the next few weeks — a step that, if Merchan agrees, would keep the restrictions in place at least until nearly the end of the month.

Trump was convicted last Thursday of 34 counts of falsifying business records arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election. She claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier, which he denies.

Trump is scheduled to be sentenced July 11. His conviction is punishable by up to four years behind bars, but prosecutors have not said if they would seek incarceration and it’s not clear if Merchan would impose such a sentence. Other options include a fine or probation.

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