Trump Learns His Punishment From Hateful Judge

Trump Learns His Punishment From Hateful Judge

In an ongoing legal saga, Judge Juan Merchan decreed on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump must shell out $9,000 in fines for breaching the gag order against him on nine occasions.

Merchan asserted that Trump would have to fork over $1,000 for each of the nine transgressions he was found culpable of.

According to Forbes, prosecutors leveled accusations against Trump, alleging that he flouted the gag order 10 times subsequent to Merchan's imposition of the order, which prohibited the former president from publicly discussing potential witnesses, jurors, legal counsel, and others involved in the case, actions deemed potentially disruptive to the legal proceedings. Prosecutors pointed to Trump's social media posts regarding potential witnesses and jurors, which they argued contravened the order.

While breaches of the gag order could result in up to 30 days' imprisonment under New York state law, prosecutors opted to petition Merchan to impose a $1,000 fine per violation for now—the maximum fine permissible under state law. However, they also proposed that the judge caution Trump that future infractions might lead to imprisonment.

During a hearing on the matter last week, Merchan hinted at a probable ruling against the former president. He expressed frustration with Trump's attorney, Todd Blanche, on multiple occasions when the latter asserted that his client had not defied the injunction. At one point, Merchan even conceded to Blanche that he was "losing all credibility with the court."

Steven Cheung, spokesperson for President Trump, has yet to respond to a request for comment, notwithstanding Trump's prior grievances about the gag order, contending it encroaches upon his right to free expression.

The looming question is whether Trump will adhere to the gag order and refrain from disparaging Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, and her former attorney Michael Cohen, both potential witnesses in the case, whom he has already maligned.

"The Gag Order imposed on me, a political candidate running for the highest office in the land, is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Nothing like this has ever happened before," Trump proclaimed on Truth Social Wednesday, preceding Merchan's ruling. "The Conflicted Judge’s friends and party members can say whatever they want about me, but I am not allowed to respond."

The trial centers on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records against Trump, stemming from payments he purportedly made to Cohen. Allegedly, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to conceal her alleged affair with Trump prior to the 2016 election.

Subsequently, Trump reimbursed Cohen in multiple installments throughout 2017, totaling $420,000 when factoring in bonuses, tax payments, and other expenses. Prosecutors assert that these payments were funneled through the Trump Organization and misrepresented as legal settlements.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the allegations against him, with his legal team contending that the checks were for personal rather than corporate purposes.

Following Trump's social media disparagement of the judge's daughter in April, Merchan expanded the gag order to encompass family members of court employees, an order initially imposed against the former president in March.

This hush money case marks the third gag order slapped on Trump. The previous two were linked to speech restrictions in a civil fraud lawsuit against him and his company, and the ongoing federal criminal prosecution concerning Trump's alleged interference in the 2020 election.

Appeals courts have consistently upheld these gag orders, with Trump previously fined $15,000 for two breaches in the civil fraud case.

Trump's legal team maintains that the gag order violates the former president's First Amendment rights. Trump's presence is mandated daily for his criminal trial.

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