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Judge Warns Trump of “Incarceratory Punishment” for Violating Gag Order, Describing it as a Message

Judge Juan Merchan (Credits: CNN)

Former President Donald Trump faced consequences for repeatedly violating a gag order in his Manhattan trial over hush payments, with Judge Juan Merchan imposing a $9,000 fine for nine violations.

While the fine served as a financial penalty, the judge also warned Trump of the potential for incarceration if he continues to defy the gag order.

Trump’s violations primarily involved attacks on witnesses, including Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, posted on his Truth Social platform.

Donald Trump (Credits:

Despite arguments from his lawyer that these attacks were political speech, Judge Merchan emphasized the seriousness of the violations and criticized Trump’s legal team for their defense strategy.

Although the current penalty was limited to fines, Judge Merchan left open the possibility of harsher punishments, including incarceration, if Trump persists in violating the gag order.

This decision reflects the judge’s recognition that monetary penalties might not be sufficient deterrents for a wealthy defendant like Trump.

Donald Trump (Credits: Rolling Stone)

However, the judge clarified that Trump is permitted to defend himself if he is attacked first, signaling a balanced approach to enforcing the gag order. Legal analysts noted that this aspect of the ruling allows Trump to respond to attacks within the bounds of the court’s restrictions.

The hearing underscored the importance of adhering to the gag order and the potential consequences for disregarding court directives, even for high-profile defendants like Trump.

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