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Judge warns Trump of potential jail time

Judge Juan Merchan imposed a $9,000 fine on former President Donald Trump due to his recent posts on Truth Social and his campaign website. These posts were seen as attacks on potential jurors and key witnesses expected to testify against him. Judge Merchan also issued a stern warning to Trump, cautioning him that further violations might lead to imprisonment.

In his decision, Judge Merchan emphasized the necessity of adherence to legal orders, stating, “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.” He instructed Trump to delete the controversial posts from both Truth Social and his campaign website immediately.

The situation escalated during a court hearing, where a tense exchange occurred between Judge Merchan and Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche. During this exchange, Merchan expressed his frustration by telling Blanche that he was “losing all credibility” with the court.

The restrictions placed on Trump include a prohibition against public commentary on witnesses regarding their involvement in the case, as well as on jurors. Furthermore, Trump is forbidden from making disparaging remarks about court staff, prosecutors, and their families, including the families of the judge and the district attorney, especially if such remarks are intended to interfere materially with the legal proceedings.

The hearing last week followed claims by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg that Trump had breached the gag order ten times during the days leading up to and throughout the jury selection process. The District Attorney’s office recommended that the judge impose a fine of $1,000 for each infraction and demanded the removal of the contentious posts.