May 7, 2024, 1:21 PM

Judge warns Trump of jail time for violating gag order

Judge warns Trump of jail time for violating gag order

TEHRAN, May 07 (MNA) – The judge in Donald Trump's criminal trial fined him $1,000 and held him in contempt of court for a 10th time on Monday for violating a gag order and warned that further violations could land the former president in jail.

Justice Juan Merchan said the nine $1,000 fines he had imposed previously did not seem to be deterring the wealthy business mogul from violating the order, which bars him from speaking publicly about the jurors and witnesses in the first criminal trial of a former US president.

Imprisonment would be an unprecedented step in the historic trial, which stems from a hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election.

After Merchan's ruling, jurors heard testimony from former Trump employees that could bolster prosecutors' case that Trump falsified business records to cover up the hush money payment.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

As he imposed the fine, Merchan said he considered jail time “truly the last resort” as it would disrupt the trial, pose extraordinary security challenges and complicate the 2024 presidential election, in which the Republican Trump seeks to win the White House back from Democratic President Joe Biden.

But the judge said Trump’s “continued, willful” violations of the gag order amounted to a “direct attack on the rule of law.”

Merchan imposed the 10th $1,000 fine on Monday for an April 22 broadcast interview in which the former president said: "That jury was picked so fast - 95% Democrats. The area's mostly all Democrat."

Merchan found that other statements flagged by prosecutors that mentioned witnesses Michael Cohen and David Pecker did not violate the gag order.

The order prevents Trump from making statements about jurors, witnesses, and families of the judge and prosecutors if meant to interfere with the case. Violations are punishable by fines of up to $1,000 or jail time of up to 30 days.

Last week Merchan fined Trump $9,000 for nine social media posts that he ruled had violated the gag order.


News ID 214837


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