Judge Holds Trump in Contempt for Violating Gag Order

(RightWing.org) – Former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial is well underway with witnesses taking the stand. He has remained in court throughout it all and has been his usually chatty self on social media. Now his posts have garnered attention from Judge Juan Merchan, who recently held him in contempt for violating a gag order.

Violations and Fines

Prior to the start of the trial, Judge Merchan issued a non-dissemination (gag) order prohibiting Trump from talking about jurors, court staff, key witnesses, and prosecution attorneys. The former president has called the directive “unconstitutional.”

Prosecutors recently filed a motion, singling out more than 10 posts that they say violate the order, particularly because they focus on key witnesses, including Stormy Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

On Tuesday, April 30, Merchan noted in a written order that he agreed with nine of them — four others are set to be addressed at a separate hearing. He also expressed his opinion that the prosecution failed to meet the burden required for one post concerning whether Trump would pardon Michael Avenatti, a disgraced celebrity lawyer.

In his written order, Merchan slapped Trump with $9,000 in fines, $1,000 per violation. He noted that Trump disobeyed the directive by “making social media posts about known witnesses pertaining to their participation in this criminal proceeding and by making public statements about jurors in this criminal proceeding.” Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, argued that he was just responding to political attacks against him, something well within his rights.

Merchan also ordered the former president to delete all the posts — which he did. They were taken down by Tuesday evening. However, the judge warned that he didn’t agree with the maximum allowable amount and if Trump persisted, it wouldn’t stop there.

Judge Issues a Warning

The judge made it clear that he will not continue to tolerate the former president’s violations. In determining that $1,000 isn’t enough for Trump, who “can easily afford” the penalties, Merchan said he “must therefore consider whether in some instances, jail may be a necessary punishment.”

He then directly warned Trump that if he were to continue to act against his own interests he might find himself facing “incarceratory punishment.”

The former president is facing 34 charges of allegedly falsifying business reports to hide hush money payments reportedly made to Stormy Daniels to prevent her from disclosing the two had an affair years ago. He denies all of the charges against him.

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