Judge fines Trump for violating court order on public comments

The former president was warned that he could be jailed if he continues speaking out against his prosecutors

Former US President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $9,000 for repeatedly violating a gag order imposed by the judge overseeing his ‘hush money’ trial in New York. Trump was threatened with jail time if he continues to breach the order.
At a hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday, Judge Juan Merchan fined Trump $1,000 for nine separate instances in which he violated the gag order. Merchan explained in his ruling that while a $1,000 fine ultimately matters little to a man of Trump’s wealth, he could not legally issue a larger fine.
However, the judge added that he would consider whether “jail may be a necessary punishment” if Trump continues to break the order in future.
Trump is currently on trial for allegedly misreporting ‘hush-money’ payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Since last month, Merchan has forbidden him from making public statements about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg or the jurors working on the case, and from uttering anything that could interfere with the work of the court.

Nevertheless, Trump has spoken to the media outside the courthouse every day since the trial began earlier this month. In these appearances and in posts on his Truth Social platform, the former president has denounced the “sham case” against him, often quoting conservative pundits and journalists in an apparent bid to skirt the gag order.
“The Gag Order imposed on me, a political candidate running for the highest office in the land, is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Trump wrote last week. “The Conflicted Judge’s friends and party members can say whatever they want about me, but I am not allowed to respond.”
Trump’s lawyers have argued that Merchan’s connections to the Democratic Party – his daughter owns a consulting firm that creates fundraising campaigns for Democratic politicians, including President Joe Biden – make him unsuitable to judge the case. However, Merchan has refused multiple requests to recuse himself, saying that Trump has “failed to provide” evidence of a conflict of interest.
In addition to the ‘hush money’ trial, Trump is also facing two federal criminal cases concerning his alleged incitement of the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill and his alleged mishandling of classified documents, as well as a state-level racketeering case in Georgia concerning his alleged efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge Biden in November’s presidential election. Despite the ongoing trial effectively halting his campaign in its tracks, a CNN poll published on Sunday showed him leading Biden by a 49%-43% margin, with six in ten respondents disapproving of Biden’s performance as president.