Tuesday 7 May 2024

Judge Fines Trump Over Comments On Hush Money Case, Issues Threat Of Future ‘Incarceration’

 Former President Donald Trump was fined $1,000 on Monday by the judge overseeing his New York criminal trial who said Trump had made comments on the case that violated the court’s gag order. 

Judge Juan Merchan, who announced the fine, said he might have to order Trump to be imprisoned if the gag order was violated again. Last week, Trump was fined $9,000 over social media posts that Merchan said violated the directive.

“It appears that the $1,000 fines are not serving as a deterrent. Therefore going forward, this court will have to consider a jail sanction,” Merchan wrote in a court order. “Defendant is hereby put on notice that if appropriate and warranted, future violations of its lawful orders will be punishable by incarceration.”

Merchan said Trump violated the gag order when the former president criticized the jury’s composition, saying that it was mainly composed of Democrats. 

“You know [the judge is] rushing the trial like crazy. Nobody’s ever seen a thing go like this. That jury was picked so fast — 95% Democrats. The areas mostly all Democrat. You think of it as a — just a purely Democrat area. It’s a very unfair situation, that I can tell you,” Trump said in an interview with Real America’s Voice last month. 

“Defendant violated the Order by making public statements about the jury and how it was selected. In doing so, Defendant not only called into question the integrity, and therefore the legitimacy of these proceedings, but again raised the specter of fear for the safety of the jurors and of their loved ones,” Merchan wrote in his order. 

Merchan did not fine Trump for several other comments on the case he made that prosecutors alleged violated the gag order.

The fine comes as Trump is on trial over alleged hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. The case was brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is charging Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records. 


Merchan issued a gag order against Trump in March that barred him from commenting on potential witnesses, jurors, court staff, and attorneys. Later, after Trump pointed out Merchan’s daughter’s history working for elected Democrats, Merchan expanded the gag order to cover members of his family.

Speaking outside of the courtroom on Monday morning, Trump said that his constitutional rights had been taken away from him by the judge. 

“It’s a ridiculous case. I did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump said. “He’s taken away my constitutional right to speak. I was in Miami this weekend, and reporters are asking me questions, the same questions like you are asking me, and I have to say I have a gag order, I can’t speak about it. Never happened before ever.”

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