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Judge Fines Donald Trump $9,000 for Gag Order Violations in Hush Money Trial

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Judge Fines Donald Trump $9,000 for Gag Order Violations in Hush Money Trial

(CTN News) – New York Judge Juan Merchan punished Former President Donald Trump for repeatedly violating the gag order during the hush money trial.

Donald Trump must erase seven “offending posts” from Truth Social and two from his campaign website by 2:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Merchan decided that Trump breached the gag order nine times by insulting expected trial witnesses in social media posts and on his campaign page. Trump must pay the $9,000 fee by the end of this week.

Merchan also threatened Trump with incarceration if he violated the gag order again, writing in his ruling, “THEREFORE, Defendant 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.”

Donald Trump did not react when the judge read his verdict in court.

During last week’s hearing on gag order violations, Trump’s defense contended that reposting other people’s words does not violate the order and represents protected political expression in reaction to insults.

Merchan dismissed both arguments in his contempt finding on Tuesday.

First, he discovered that reposts are, in this instance, endorsements.

“There can be no doubt whatsoever, that Defendant’s intent and purpose when reposting, is to communicate to his audience that he endorses and adopts the posted statement as his own,” he said.

Second, Merchan recognized that while the gag order allows Trump to respond to political attacks, critiques of important witnesses are not permitted.

“To permit such attacks on protected witnesses with broad claims that they are all responses to ‘political attacks’ would be an exception that swallowed the rule. “The Expanded Order does not include such an exception,” he wrote.

Prosecutors had requested Merchan punish Trump in contempt for violating the gag order. They cited 10 social media posts from before and throughout the trial in which the district attorney’s office accused Trump of violating the judge’s order prohibiting him from commenting on witnesses and jurors. They also want the posts removed.

Here are posts for which Donald Trump has been fined:

According to CNN, the posts were released on the following dates:

  • A Truth Social post on April 10 at 10:48am
  • Truth Social post, April 13, 12:56pm
  • Truth Social post, April 15, 9:12am
  • Truth Social post, April 15, 10:26am
  • Campaign website post, April 15
  • Truth Social post, April 16, 1:50pm
  • Campaign website post, April 16
  • Truth Social post, April 16, 7:09pm
  • Truth Social post, April 17, 5:46pm

Prosecutors referenced Trump’s remarks against Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and the jury pool.

Last week’s acrimonious hearing between the court and Trump’s defense attorney, Todd Blanche, resulted in the ruling.

Prosecutors have identified four new comments made by Donald Trump since last week’s hearing, including those against Cohen and former AMI chief David Pecker, who testified last week. Merchan has scheduled another hearing for Thursday to discuss the comments.

New York State law allows for a maximum of $1,000 per offense.

This is Donald Trump’s first consequence for violating the gag order.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.