Trump Calls Gag Order ‘Unconstitutional’, Wants it Lifted

The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York on Tuesday held the former president in contempt for multiple violations of the gag order limiting his public comments about the case and warned Trump that further violations could result in jail time.

In his order, Judge Juan Merchan concluded that Trump violated the gag order on nine occasions in recent weeks. The order, expanded last month, bars Trump from publicly commenting on potential witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, and their families.

The judge fined Trump $1,000 for each of the nine violations and ordered him to delete the offending social media posts, all of which were removed by Tuesday afternoon.

According to Merchan’s ruling, Trump violated the gag order when posting about potential witnesses and in his public statements about the members of the jury.

Trump had attacked former attorney Michael Cohen both on Truth Social and in recent interviews, describing him as a “convicted liar” who had been “caught lying in the last trial.”

Trump also attacked the jury in a recent interview, describing the panel as “95 percent Democrats.”

Under New York Law, the judge could only impose a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation. Merchan said in his ruling that such a fine would “not achieve the desired result” when the defendant could easily afford it.

He warned the former president that the court would not tolerate further violations of the gag order and, if needed, would “impose an incarceratory punishment.”

Trump has repeatedly railed against the gag order, which he claimed violated his First Amendment right to engage in political speech.

In a post on Truth Social last Friday, Trump demanded that the judge lift the order “immediately,” claiming that it was unconstitutional and unprecedented election interference.

Trump argued that he had been unable to respond to questions from reporters about his feelings about the trial because of the order.