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Judge Penalizes Trump for Breaching Gag Order: Consequences If Repeated?

New York Judge Juan Merchan (Credits:

New York Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money case, has ruled that the former president violated a gag order nine times through posts on his social media and campaign website.

As a result, Trump was held in contempt and fined $9,000, with $1,000 levied for each violation. The judge ordered Trump to pay the fine by the end of business on Friday and remove the offending posts from his Truth Social account and campaign website by 2:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Donald Trump (Credits: ABC News)

Judge Merchan’s ruling stated that prosecutors “established the elements of criminal contempt beyond a reasonable doubt” for the nine violations. The judge is still considering additional alleged violations of the gag order and will hear arguments again on Thursday. Trump has appealed the gag order, but it remains in effect for now.

If Trump continues to violate the gag order, he risks facing more severe consequences, including potential jail time. Judge Merchan warned Trump that the court “will not tolerate continued willful violations of its lawful orders” and may impose “an incarceratory punishment” if necessary.

According to Cornell Law School, criminal contempt in New York is considered a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, although the actual sentence may be shorter depending on the judge’s discretion.

Donald J Trump (Credits: CNN)

This is not the first time Trump has violated a gag order; in 2022, he was fined $15,000 for violating a gag order during his New York civil fraud trial, and in 2022, he was held in contempt and fined $110,000 for slow responses to a subpoena in the investigation leading to the civil fraud lawsuit.

The court proceedings continued on Tuesday with testimony from Gary Farro, a banker who helped Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen open accounts, including one used to pay off porn performer Stormy Daniels, who alleged a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies.

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