Judge Cites Trump for Contempt Again, Threatens Jail Over Gag Order Breach

Former President faces mounting legal challenges and penalties

by Zain ul Abedin
Judge Cites Trump for Contempt Again, Threatens Jail Over Gag Order Breach
© Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a recent legal development, a judge has once again found Donald Trump in contempt of court due to his non-compliance with a partial gag order. This ongoing legal battle has seen the former president fined $1,000 for comments deemed an attack on the jury involved in his case.

The case, which is centered around alleged hush money, has been presided over by Judge Juan Merchan. In a stern warning to Trump, Judge Merchan expressed his reluctance but readiness to enforce more severe consequences, including possible jail time, should the breaches continue.

"The last thing I want to do is put you in jail," Merchan stated, acknowledging Trump's significant past and potential future political roles. However, he emphasized the disruptive impact of jailing a former president on the proceedings and the Secret Service tasked with Trump's protection.

Merchan highlighted the gravity of the situation, noting, “The magnitude of such a decision is not lost on me. But at the end of the day, I have a job to do”. He stressed that Trump’s repeated defiance of court orders represented a direct challenge to the rule of law, a challenge he could not allow to persist unchallenged.

Trump's Contempt Escalates

Further intensifying the legal scrutiny, Trump was previously fined $9,000 for nine separate violations of the same gag order. This order restricts him from commenting publicly about potential witnesses, court staff, and prosecution team members, including the judge’s family.

The latest ruling from Judge Merchan came after Trump’s comments in a Real America’s Voice interview, where he criticized the speed of the trial and the composition of the jury, claiming bias and unfair treatment due to political affiliations.

“You know the judge is rushing the trial like crazy. Nobody’s ever seen a thing go like this. That jury was picked so fast – 95% Democrats. The area’s mostly all Democrat. It’s a very unfair situation that I can tell you,” Trump remarked during the interview.

Judge Merchan responded by stating that Trump's comments not only jeopardized the integrity and legitimacy of the proceedings but also potentially endangered the safety of the jurors and their families by fostering an atmosphere of fear.

Amid these ongoing legal developments, the trial resumed with testimony from Jeffrey McConney, former senior vice president and comptroller for the Trump Organization. This case continues to attract significant media attention, underscoring its implications for legal precedents and political discourse in the United States.