LEGAL Drama Unfolds! Trump Hit With Fine, Jail Threat For Violating Gag Order

“LEGAL Drama Unfolds!” Trump Hit With Fine, Jail Threat For Violating ‘Gag Order’

DEBARYLIFE – The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s hush money trial has fined him $9,000 for nine different infractions and warned to put him in jail if he keeps breaking the case’s gag order.

Judge Juan Merchan of New York found the former president in contempt of court and imposed $1,000 fines for nine offensive Truth Social posts in which he disparaged witnesses in the case, immediately before the start of the second week of witness evidence on Tuesday morning.

The judge threatened to impose “incarceration punishment” on Mr. Trump in his written ruling if he persisted in his “wilful violations” of the court’s decision, if “necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.”

If the pecuniary penalties fail to deter the wealthy defendant, he also implied that Mr. Trump might be subject to harsher punishment.

LEGAL Drama Unfolds! Trump Hit With Fine, Jail Threat For Violating Gag Order (1)

“While $1,000 may be sufficient in most cases to punish the offender for disobeying a court order and to preserve the dignity of the legal system, it, unfortunately, will not achieve the desired result in those instances where the contemnor can easily afford such a fine,” Judge Merchan wrote.

Under such cases, he continued, “it would be preferable if the court could impose a fine more commensurate with the contemnor’s wealth.”

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“It might be a $2,500 charge in some circumstances or a $150,000 fine in others. This court must therefore take into account whether jail time could be appropriate in some situations because it lacks such authority.

It was mandated that Mr. Trump remove the posts on Truth Social by Tuesday afternoon and pay the fee by Friday.

The posts were taken down with about half an hour left before his 2.15 pm deadline for removal.

LEGAL Drama Unfolds! Trump Hit With Fine, Jail Threat For Violating Gag Order (2)

Through at least ten distinct posts on his Truth Social platform and campaign website—including ones that targeted important witnesses Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels—Manhattan prosecutors accused Mr. Trump of violating the trial gag order.

Both Ms. Daniels, the star of an adult film, and Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer,” Cohen, are set to testify regarding the allegations of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy to fabricate business records to conceal payments of hush money to Ms. Daniels before the 2016 election.

The money was purportedly given to Ms. Daniels to quiet her about a supposed 2006 affair she had with Mr. Trump.

To increase his prospects of winning the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors claim that the payments were part of a months-long plot to bury politically damaging reports of his alleged affairs.

Mr. Trump has taken a harsh stance against several parties associated with the case, including witnesses, court personnel, the judge, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, both before and after the trial began. The judge enlarged the injunction in the wake of the attacks.

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Hearing arguments from both sides, the judge convened last week after the prosecution claimed that Mr. Trump had violated the gag order ten times.

Todd Blanche, the defense lawyer, said on April 23 that Mr. Trump was reacting to “political” attacks in his posts, but he did not provide any specific examples of what Mr. Trump was reacting to.

Judge Merchan did not seem at all persuaded.

He informed Mr. Trump’s lawyer, “You presented nothing.” “Let me tell you straight away that you are completely losing credibility.”

The judge was informed by Manhattan Associate District Attorney Christopher Conroy that Mr. Trump frequently says “whatever he wants to say to get the results he wants.”

Speaking about this particular issue, Mr. Trump claimed that he is “knowingly and wilfully breaching the crystal clear, unequivocal lines drawn up by the court.”

The prosecutors requested that the judge find Mr. Trump in contempt, punish him with $1,000 for each violation, and compel him to take down the offending posts with a threat of jail time.

Since the first injunction was issued last month, there have been 14 claimed violations. Prosecutors now claim that four further infractions occurred during the first few days of witness testimony alone, including comments made by Mr. Trump right outside the courtroom.

According to Mr. Conroy, Mr. Trump’s remarks, which “specifically target individuals and the proceeding which this court’s order protects, is a deliberate flouting of this court’s directives [and] that warrants sanctions.”

The four new claimed infractions will be the subject of a second hearing before Judge Merchan on May 2.

The judge issued a fresh warning to Mr. Trump on the second day of the trial about intimidating jurors in his courtroom while jury selection was underway.

A protection order prevents Mr. Trump from speaking in public regarding jurors, witnesses, and any parties involved in the case. To provide public statements concerning Mr. Bragg’s office and the judge’s family, Judge Merchan expanded the order.

On Friday, the first week of witness testimony in the trial came to an end. The testimony linked the former president to a purported plot to rig an American election. This was set against a backdrop of intimidation from the defendant who was once a candidate, who allegedly threatened the witnesses gathered against him as well as the jurors.

Prosecutors say that Mr. Trump is accused of 34 counts of fabricating financial records as part of a plot to purchase adult film star Stormy Daniels’s silence. Daniels’ claim that Mr. Trump had an affair with her threatened to ruin his prospects of winning the 2016 election.

In both his federal election interference case and his civil fraud case, where prosecutors warned that his social media bully pulpit may be used to fuel assaults, there have been gag orders in place. These orders are being followed in his criminal trial.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team, which is overseeing Mr. Trump’s federal criminal cases, described that dynamic in court documents last year as “part of a pattern, stretching back years, in which people publicly targeted” by Mr. Trump are “subject to harassment, threats, and intimidation”.

The former president “seeks to use this well-known dynamic to his advantage”, the filing added, and “it has continued unabated as this case and other unrelated cases involving the defendant has progressed”.

Gag orders in the fraud case in New York blocked Mr Trump, his attorneys, and all other parties in the case from disparaging court staff.

He was fined $15,000 for violating that order. His attorney Alina Habba ultimately paid the cheque to the court.

A state appeals court allowed his fraud trial gag orders to stand after court filings outlined the wave of credible death threats and abusive messages that followed Mr Trump’s attacks against court employees and others.

“The implementation of the limited gag orders” in the fraud case “resulted in a decrease in the number of threats, harassment, and disparaging messages that the judge and his staff received,” an official with the New York court system’s Department of Public Safety stated in an affidavit last year.

The threats against New York Justice Arthur Engoron and his clerk Allison Greenfield were “serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative”, he wrote.

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