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Donald Trump fined for defying gag order in hush trial

Published April 30, 2024last updated April 30, 2024

The presiding judge ruled that the former US president had violated a gag order nine times and fined him $9,000. Trump was also warned he could be jailed if he continued defying order.

Former US President Donald Trump
The judge warned Trump he would consider jailing him if he continued to violate a gag orderImage: Brendan McDermid/REUTERS

A New York judge on Tuesday imposed a $9,000 (€8,396) fine on former US President Donald Trump for defying a gag order in his hush money trial.

Trump was held in contempt for violating an order to refrain from publicly attacking witnesses, jurors or court staff.

Trump fined for 9 violations

The former president was fined $1,000 each for nine violations and was told to remove seven posts from his Truth Social account and two others from a campaign website by Tuesday afternoon.

Trump was also warned that he could find himself behind bars if he continued to violate the gag order.

"Defendant is hereby warned that the Court will not tolerate continued willful violations of its lawful orders and that if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances, it will impose an incarceratory punishment," Judge Juan M. Merchan said.

Trump has argued that the gag order violates his right to free speech, and his lawyer Todd Blanche told Merchan last week that the statements at issue were responses to political attacks.

Hush money trial resumes

The order was delivered before testimony resumed in Trump's trial on charges of falsifying business records to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump is accused of falsifying the records to cover up an alleged sexual encounter with Daniels to protect his 2016 campaign from a last-minute upset.

The charges center around $130,000 in payments that Trump's company made to his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen. He had paid that sum on Trump's behalf to keep Daniels from going public with her claims of a sexual encounter with the married mogul a decade earlier.

Prosecutors say the payments to Cohen were falsely recorded as legal fees to hide their true purpose. Trump's lawyers say the payments were in fact legal expenses, not a cover-up.

Hush-money trial against Trump begins

kb/nm (AFP, Reuters)