Judge Holds Trump in Contempt, Fines Him $9K

Merchan says former president could face jail next time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 30, 2024 9:13 AM CDT
Judge Holds Trump in Contempt, Fines Him $9K
Former President Trump is seen as he leaves the courtroom during a break in his trial in Manhattan criminal court on Friday in New York.   (Dave Sanders/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Donald Trump was held in contempt of court Tuesday and fined $9,000 for repeatedly violating a gag order that barred him from making public statements about witnesses, jurors, and some others connected to his New York hush money case. If he does it again, the judge warned, he could be jailed. Prosecutors had alleged 10 violations, but New York Judge Juan Merchan found there were nine, reports the AP. The ruling was a stinging rebuke for the Republican former president, who'd insisted he was exercising his free speech rights. Merchan wrote that Trump "is hereby warned that the Court will not tolerate continued willful violations of its lawful orders and that if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances, it will impose an incarceratory punishment."

Trump stared down at the table in front of him as the judge read the ruling, frowning slightly. The ruling came at the start of the second week of testimony in the historic case. Trump must pay the fine by the close of business on Friday, Merchan said in a written ruling. He must remove seven offending posts from his Truth Social account and two from his campaign website by 2:15pm ET on Tuesday, Merchan said. Merchan is also weighing other alleged gag-order violations by Trump and will hear arguments Thursday. Court was resuming Tuesday with Gary Farro, a banker who helped Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen open accounts, including one that Cohen used to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels.

(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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