Trump Blasts 'Kangaroo Court' After Contempt Hearing

Former president, accused of violating gag order, criticized the judge himself after arguments
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2024 11:35 AM CDT
Judge Considers Contempt Ruling Against Trump
Donald Trump, standing next to lawyer Todd Blanche, speaks to the press as he arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City Tuesday April 23, 2024.   (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

The judge in Donald Trump's hush-money trial is considering holding the former president in contempt for going after witnesses, jurors, and others related to the case on social media. Before the start of Tuesday's regular trial, prosecutors said Trump violated Judge Juan Merchan's gag order on such attacks 10 times and asked the judge to fine him $1,000 for each, reports the AP. Trump attorney Todd Blanche countered that his client was abiding by the order, prompting Merchan to tell him, "You've presented nothing" to back that up, per the New York Times. The judge also told Blanche that he was "losing all credibility with this court," per NBC News.

It was not clear when the judge might rule on the matter—the regular proceedings have resumed with witness David Pecker. However, the Hill notes that Trump again tested the limits of the judge's order by going after Merchan himself during a break, after the arguments wrapped up:

  • "Highly conflicted, to put it mildly, Judge Juan Merchan has taken away my constitutional right to free speech," wrote Trump in an all-caps post on Truth Social. "Everybody is allowed to talk and lie about me, but I'm not allowed to defend myself. This is a kangaroo court, and the judge should recuse himself!"
(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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