Washington Examiner

Trump found in contempt for breaking silence order in hush money case

Former President‍ Donald Trump has⁣ been​ fined $9,000 for repeatedly breaching a gag order in his New York hush money ‌trial. Judge Juan Merchan ‍supported prosecutors’‌ claims‍ of nine violations ⁣since the trial involving a former U.S.⁢ president commenced. ⁣The ruling allows fines of⁤ up to $1,000 per violation, with a written order expected soon.⁣ Trump’s social media posts were ‌also scrutinized ⁣for potential violations.

Former President Donald Trump must pay $9,000 for violating a gag order multiple times in his New York criminal hush money trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Justice Juan Merchan sided with prosecutors who alleged Trump had violated his gag order at least nine times since the first criminal trial against a former U.S. president began earlier this month. New York state law allows fines of up to $1,000 for each gag order violation. Merchan said a written order would be forthcoming.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media after the first day of opening arguments in his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court for falsifying documents related to hush money payments, in New York, New York, on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Victor J. Blue for the Washington Post/ Pool)

The decision comes days after a hearing was held to determine whether Trump’s recent social media posts about certain witnesses in the case truly violated the order, including whether merely reposting content others had written about the case amounted to a violation.

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche argued last week that his client was responding to political attacks, adding there was “absolutely no willful violation of the gag order.”

The former president released a statement on Wednesday decrying the gag order as “totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”

“The Conflicted Judge’s friends and party members can say whatever they want about me, but I am not allowed to respond,” Trump posted to Truth Social last Tuesday. He also ripped the judges who presided over a civil fraud case against the Trump Organization, Justice Arthur Engoron, and who oversaw his defamation trial, Judge Lewis Kaplan.

The order in the hush money case prevents Trump from making statements about attorneys, court staff members, or the family members of prosecutors, lawyers, judges, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat who brought the 34-count hush money case against the former president. Trump contends this violates his First Amendment rights and prevents him from defending against attacks by his critics.

Also last week, Trump targeted his former attorney Michael Cohen, a key witness for the prosecution, calling him a “convicted liar” who got in trouble “because of things outside of what he did for me,” according to 6ABC Philadelphia.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2019 for fraud and campaign finance violations and for lying to Congress.

Prosecutors also alleged during the Tuesday hearing last week that Trump violated the gag order when he spoke in the halls of the courtroom on Monday, when he referred to “all the lies” from Cohen.


Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection to reimbursing Cohen, who had paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in the lead-up to the 2016 election to remain quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.

Prosecutors told the court last week they were not seeking an “incarceratory” penalty for violating the order but emphasized the defendant’s recent actions seem “to be angling for that.”

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