Before Trump's Trial Resumes, He Faces a Gag Order Hearing

Prosecutors want former president held accountable for going after witnesses, jurors
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2024 6:01 AM CDT
Before Trump's Trial Resumes, He Faces a Gag Order Hearing
Donald Trump speaks outside Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Monday.   (Angela Weiss/Pool Photo via AP)

Donald Trump's hush money trial continues in New York on Tuesday, but before that kicks off at 11am ET, there's another proceeding the former president will have to contend with: the hearing held at 9:30am in which Judge Juan Merchan will determine if Trump should be held in contempt of court for violating a gag order regarding the trial, reports CNN. Prosecutors, who are pushing for a fine of $1,000 per violation, say that Trump violated the gag order at least 10 times by targeting witnesses and jurors, including via a Truth Social post on the first day of the trial last week that went after prosecution star witness Michael Cohen, per Politico.

If Merchan finds Trump did breach the gag order's instructions, the judge could hit the former president with anything from a verbal slap on the wrist to a short time behind bars, though several legal experts say they don't expect Merchan to go too extreme. However, as Politico notes, experts acknowledge "the situation is fluid, unpredictable, and—it goes without saying—unprecedented." The jury in the hush money trial won't hear arguments regarding the gag order. Merchan has said that if the gag order hearing isn't over by the time the trial starts again at 11am, they'll pick up the hearing later, per CNN.

"We think that it is important for the court to remind Mr. Trump that he is a criminal defendant," prosecutor Chris Conroy said last week. "And like all criminal defendants, he's subject to court supervision." Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Trump is fundraising off of the gag order commotion: On Monday, an appeal sent to supporters proclaimed that "ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE IN 24 HOURS!" and informed recipients that Trump "could be thrown in jail" for possible contempt, meaning "Democrats will have free rein to destroy our country." (More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.