A New York state appeals judge on Tuesday denied Donald Trump’s bid to delay his April 15 trial on criminal charges stemming from hush money paid to a porn star while the former U.S. president appeals a gag order in the case.

Associate Justice Cynthia Kern issued the order following a Tuesday morning hearing at a mid-level appeals court. A full panel of appeals judges will later consider Trump’s underlying challenge to the gag order.

The Republican presidential candidate’s lawyers said at the hearing that Justice Juan Merchan’s order restricting his public comments should be modified to let him respond to public criticism leveled by potential witnesses in the case.

“The First Amendment harms arising from this gag order right now are irreparable,” Trump’s attorney Emil Bove said during the hearing.

Merchan imposed the order last month barring him from verbal attacks on potential witnesses, court staff and individual prosecutors after finding Trump made statements in various legal cases that the judge called “threatening, inflammatory” and “denigrating.”

The judge expanded the order to cover his relatives and those of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg after Trump disparaged Merchan’s daughter online.

The order does not restrict Trump’s speech about Merchan or Bragg.

Steven Wu, a lawyer with Bragg’s office, said at the Appellate Division hearing that the trial should not be delayed since Trump’s lawyers could have made the appeal earlier.

He also said his office had to increase security due to Trump’s statements, and that potential witnesses were reluctant to testify because of Trump’s comments.

“They know what their names in the press may lead to,” Wu said. “This is a pattern of misconduct that causes predictable, terrifying consequences.”

Trump is accused of covering up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence before the 2016 presidential election about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records and denied any such encounter with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Trump lost on Monday a last-ditch bid to delay the trial while he tries to move the case out of heavily Democratic Manhattan. His lawyers said a survey of Manhattan residents they conducted showed that 61% of respondents thought Trump was guilty and 70% had a negative opinion of him.

The hush money case is one of four criminal indictments Trump faces as he prepares to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in their Nov. 5 U.S. election rematch.

The others stem from his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden and his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving the presidency in 2021. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.