Judge Threatens to Jail Trump After Violating Gag Order

(RepublicanJournal.org) – Former president Donald Trump is currently on trial in New York over allegations that he falsified business records to hide hush money payments.  Alongside the actual trial, he’s also fighting a running battle with the judge over what he’s allowed to say about it. The judge isn’t backing down though, and has threatened Trump with jail unless he complies with a gag order.

Gag Order Adds Drama to Trump Trial

Trump’s trial on 34 counts of falsifying business records began on April 15, and a week later the prosecution began presenting its case against the former president. So far it’s heard from witnesses including David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer; Rhona Graff, Trump’s executive assistant; Keith Davidson, a lawyer who represented Daniels and allegedly helped with the hush money payments; and Gary Farro, who allegedly set up a bank account which former Trump attorney Michael Cohen made payments through. Of course, Trump has kept up a running update on the progress of the trial on his Truth Social media platform, along with some blistering attacks on witnesses and prosecution figures.

Unfortunately, that’s a problem. Under pressure from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office before the trial began, Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order on Trump. The order bans him from commenting on potential witnesses, jurors, court and DA’s office staff, and the relatives of any counsel or court official.

The gag order has exemptions that let Trump criticize Judge Merchan himself, as well as Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, and he hasn’t hesitated to use them. However, he’s also blasted potential witnesses, including Cohen and Daniels. In the first week of the trial, prosecutors asked Merchan to hold Trump in contempt of court, citing 14 posts on Truth Social referring to the case. On April 30, Merchan found Trump in contempt for nine of the posts, ordered him to remove them from Truth Social, and fined him $1,000 on each count.

Trump is challenging the gag order, which he says is unconstitutional. Merchan seems determined to stick with it, though. In his contempt order, he stressed that Trump must be allowed to campaign freely, and warned that the gag order must “not be used as a sword instead of a shield by potential witnesses.”

However, he also told Trump that he won’t tolerate any more violations of the order, and “if necessary and appropriate” could sentence him to jail if he breaches it again. That threat might be enough to persuade Trump to dial down his social media activity — but there’s no guarantee; after all, the threat of a fine didn’t work.

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