Trump Is Warned About Jail Time For Further Gag Order Violations In Hush Money Trial

The former president was held in contempt of court for a 10th time on Monday.

Former President Donald Trump has been found in contempt of court for violating his gag order once again, as his criminal hush money trial entered its fourth week.

He was also warned that, going forward, overstepping the bounds of the order could land him behind bars.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels in order to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan fined the former president $1,000 for attacking the trial’s jurors and the process of selecting them while speaking in the courthouse hallway after opening statements last month.

“You know [the judge is] rushing the trial like crazy. Nobody’s ever seen a thing go like this,” Trump said in the offending comments, on April 22. “That jury was picked so fast — 95% Democrats. The area’s mostly all Democrat... just a purely Democrat area. It’s a very unfair situation, that I can tell you.”

Merchan, writing in his order, found that Trump had “again raised the spectre of fear for the safety of the jurors and of their loved ones.”

The judge told the courtroom that he understands Trump’s consequential role as a former U.S. president ― and as the presumptive GOP nominee in the upcoming presidential election as well.

“The magnitude of such a decision is not lost on me, but at the end of the day, I have a job to do,” Merchan said Monday. His job, he said, includes protecting the “integrity of the judicial system.”

“Going forward, this court will have to consider a jail sanction,” Merchan warned.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to consider a total of 14 alleged gag order violations since Trump’s trial began last month. The judge has agreed on 10 of them, fining Trump $10,000 so far, or $1,000 for each violation.

Other comments that got Trump in trouble included a reposted social media clip from Fox News host Jesse Watters claiming that “they are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury.”

The comments that did not get Trump in trouble included certain attacks on the credibility of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, and calling ex-AMI CEO David Pecker “a nice guy,” which, it was argued, could be interpreted as an attempt to sway or intimidate the witness.

Cohen is expected to testify in the trial in the coming days, as he was responsible for carrying out the payment to Daniels. Pecker testified earlier in the trial about an informal agreement he had with Trump in which Pecker would use his tabloids to elevate Trump’s 2016 campaign, disparage Trump’s political enemies, and keep an ear out for information that might be harmful to Trump — such as Daniels’ story.


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