Prosecutors Say Trump Could Face Fine or Prison For Violating Gag Order

The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s hush money case on Tuesday held the former president in contempt of court for violating the gag order in place and warned him that he would be jailed if he violated it again.

Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office last week accused Donald Trump of repeatedly violating the gag order and asked Judge Juan Merchan to hold him in contempt.

The judge’s gag order prevents Trump from commenting publicly on members of the jury, possible witnesses, lawyers, court staff, and members of their families.

Prosecutor Chris Conroy told the judge that the court must remind the former president that he, like every other criminal defendant, was “subject to court supervision.”

In addition to Trump’s social media posts, prosecutors last Thursday also highlighted comments the former president has made in interviews and remarks to reporters outside of the courtroom since the trial began.

Prosecutors noted comments Trump made in an April 17 Truth Social post after jury selection was already underway in which he quoted Fox News host Jesse Watters who described prospective jurors as “undercover liberal activists.”

During last Tuesday’s hearing, Conroy described the post as “very troubling” and suggested that it might have contributed to one juror asking to be excused. He told the judge that the gag order was specifically “designed to prevent” comments like that.

When speaking to reporters outside of the courtroom last Monday, Trump attacked the prosecution’s star witness Michael Cohen, telling reporters that Cohen wasn’t a “very good” attorney and that he was “caught lying in the last trial.”

Prosecutors also cited an April 22 radio interview Trump gave in which he described the jury as “95 percent Democrats” and called the jury selection a “very unfair situation.”

Trump attacked Michael Cohen again on April 23 during an interview with WPVI in Philadelphia, describing his former fixer as “a convicted liar” with “no credibility whatsoever.”

Prosecutors also noted that Trump’s favorable comments about the prosecution’s first witness, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, also violated the judge’s gag order.

Merchan determined that Trump violated the gag order on nine occasions and fined the former $1,000 for each. The judge also ordered Trump to remove the social media posts that violated the order.