The trial judge may fine Trump over the gag order


Justice Juan Merchan challenged Trump’s defense lawyer assertion that Trump did not violate the gag order last week when he said the Manhattan jury hearing the case was picked from a heavily Democratic area.
“Did he violate the gag order?
That’s all I want to know,” Merchan asked Trump lawyer Todd Blanche.
Merchan said at that session that he might jail Trump if he continues to defy the gag order.
On Thursday, Merchan appeared skeptical of Blanche’s argument that the gag order prevents Trump from responding to political attacks while he seeks to win back the White House in a Nov. 5 election.
The gag order aims to prevent one of the world’s most prominent people from intimidating witnesses, jurors and other participants in the trial.
Davidson returned to the witness stand on Thursday after the hearing on the gag order.
Conroy said Trump also violated the gag order by saying in a television interview that “that jury was picked so fast – 95% Democrats.


NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters)-The judge presiding over the criminal hush money trial of Donald Trump hinted on Thursday that he might levy additional fines against the former U.S. s. President for breaking a gag order that forbids him from discussing jurors and witnesses.

When Trump claimed last week that the Manhattan jury hearing the case was chosen from a heavily Democratic area, his defense attorney’s claim that Trump had not broken the gag order was contested by Justice Juan Merchan.

Todd Blanche, the Trump attorney, was questioned by Merchan, “Did he violate the gag order? That’s all I want to know.”.

Blanche retorted, “Well, I’m arguing that he didn’t.”.

Merchan answered, “Well, I’m not agreeing with that argument.”. Merchan refrained from declaring right away if he would charge a fine.

For remarks he made last week regarding the jury and witnesses in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. official, prosecutors are requesting that Merchan fine Trump a total of $4,000. S. Head of State.

According to prosecutor Christopher Conroy, those remarks are “deliberate shots across the bow to anyone who may come to this courtroom to tell the truth about defendant and what he did,” he told the judge on Thursday.

Merchan fined $9,000 on Tuesday, and there would be an additional penalty. If Trump keeps disobeying the gag order, Merchan threatened to put him in jail during that session. According to Conroy, the prosecution has not yet requested that Trump be imprisoned.

Regarding the extra fine request, the judge delayed making a decision.

Merchan seemed dubious of Blanche’s claim on Thursday that Trump is unable to respond to political criticism due to the gag order while he attempts to retake the White House in a Nov. Five elections.

Blanche said, “Everyone else can say whatever they want about this case.”.

“In this case, they are not defendants,” Merchan answered.

The purpose of the gag order is to keep one of the most well-known individuals on the planet from intimidating jurors, witnesses, and other trial participants. It keeps Trump from disparaging the judge or the prosecution.

Because Merchan’s daughter has worked for Democratic politicians, Trump alleges Merchan has a conflict of interest and that prosecutors are collaborating with Democratic President Joe Biden to undermine his bid to retake the White House.

He declared at a Michigan rally on Wednesday, “I don’t think there’s ever been a more conflicted judge – crooked and conflicted.”.

Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Trump is accused of paying porn star Stormy Daniels hush money by fabricating business records.

Attorney Keith Davidson stated in court on Tuesday that Daniels had been pitching her account of a 2006 sex date to media organizations at a time when Trump was already being negatively tarnished by allegations of inappropriate behavior.

On Thursday, following the hearing regarding the gag order, Davidson went back to testify.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is the girlfriend of Trump, who has entered a not guilty plea.

Prosecutor Conroy claimed that during the past week, Trump broke the gag order four times by calling Cohen a “liar” and another witness, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, a “nice guy,” in remarks to the media.

Blanche declared that Trump’s remarks regarding Pecker posed “no threat” and that Cohen had been “inviting, and almost daring” Trump to address his remarks regarding the trial.

“That jury was picked so fast – 95 percent Democrats,” Conroy claimed that Trump had also broken the gag order in a television interview. Democrats predominate in the area. “.

Manhattan, where Biden received nearly 85% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election, is the jury’s home base.

Conroy stated, “He jeopardizes this proceeding by discussing the jury at all.”. In the absence of the twelve jurors and six alternates, the hearing was held early in the morning prior to the start of the planned testimony.

It is unclear if any of the three additional criminal cases against Trump will go to trial before November. five presidential contests. After leaving office, he is accused by two of mishandling classified documents and by a third of attempting to reverse his defeat to Biden in the 2020 election. In each of the three cases, he entered a not guilty plea.

There has been a price for his legal issues. Tens of millions of dollars have been diverted from his presidential campaign by fundraising groups to pay for his legal bills, and he was required to post $266 million in bonds to challenge two civil judgments that found him to have committed business fraud and defamed author E. the 1990s, Jean Carroll said he had sexually assaulted her.

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Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis, and Howard Goller; Additional reporting by Nathan Layne; Reporting by Jack Queen, Brendan Pierson, and Andy Sullivan.

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Politically sensitive cases are the specialty of this legal correspondent.

Brendan Pierson writes about all facets of health care law, including product liability cases. His email address is brendan. pierson at

In Washington, Andy writes about politics and policy. A Saturday Night Live skit, political attack advertisements, and Supreme Court briefs have all referenced his work.

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