Judge Merchan Considering Further Gag Order Infractions For Trump

(NewsReady.com) – Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City for alleged financial crimes. He’s accused of committing 34 felonies. The judge in the case recently fined him for violating a gag order, and he could be facing even more violations.

On Tuesday, April 30, Judge Juan Merchan found the former president in contempt. The judge had issued a gag order in March before the trial started that prohibited the defendant from making public statements about jurors, the families of court employees, and witnesses. Prosecutors asked the judge to fine Trump after he made various statements about those involved in the case on social media.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Merchan fined Trump $9,000. That was $1,000 for each violation of the court order. The judge warned the former president that he could face jail time if he continued to willfully violate the court order.

Two days later, on Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office asked Merchan to fine Trump for four more alleged violations. Although prosecutors want more fines imposed, they said they weren’t seeking jail time.

Two of the comments were related to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and a witness in the case. Another was about David Pecker, another witness, and the fourth comment was one the former president made about the jury.

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy argued the gag order was “issued because of the defendant’s persistent and escalating rhetoric” directed at participants in the case. The prosecutor said that Trump already violated it repeatedly, “and he’s done it again here.” He went on to say the DA’s Office doesn’t want to put the former president in jail because they want to “minimize disruptions to [the] proceeding.”

Merchan heard arguments on Thursday and expressed concern about Trump hurting the “integrity of the proceedings.” He has not issued a ruling on the four latest alleged violations at the time of this writing.

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