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Judge Rules Trump Continued to Breach Gag Order and Once More Warns of Potential Incarceration ‘if Needed’

Donald Trump (Credits: ABC News)

Former President Donald Trump faced further consequences for violating a gag order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan in his trial, with the judge warning that Trump could face jail time if he continues to ignore the order.

Merchan had previously fined Trump $9,000 for nine violations of the gag order and issued a warning about potential incarceration. On Monday, Merchan fined Trump an additional $1,000 for another violation and reiterated the possibility of jail time.

Judge Merchan (Credits: NY1)

Despite the fines, Merchan expressed concern that they were not deterring Trump from violating the order. He emphasized that incarceration would be a last resort, acknowledging Trump’s status as a former and potentially future president. However, Merchan stressed that Trump’s continued willful violations threatened the administration of justice and the rule of law, which he could not allow to continue.

Merchan ruled that Trump’s recent comments in an interview, where he questioned the integrity of the jury and suggested bias, violated the gag order. The order prohibits Trump from discussing the jury or witnesses with the intent to influence their decisions or testimony. Merchan emphasized that Trump’s comments raised concerns about the integrity of the trial and the safety of the jurors and their loved ones.

Judge Merchan (Credits: CNN)

Trump has repeatedly criticized Merchan’s gag order as unfair and unconstitutional, arguing that it restricts his constitutional right to respond to allegations made against him. His lawyer, Todd Blanche, argued in court that statements made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer expected to testify for the prosecution, justified Trump’s right to respond.

Additionally, Blanche pointed to remarks by President Joe Biden that seemed to reference the case, suggesting that Trump, as a presidential candidate, should be able to defend himself.

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