Judge Hits Trump With $9K Fine

Judge Hits Trump With $9K Fine

(USNewsBreak.com) – Former President Donald Trump is currently in Manhattan, on trial for allegedly falsifying business records. The case centers on hush money payments reportedly made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their affair while he was running for office in 2016. Judge Juan Merchan ordered the former president to refrain from talking about potential jurors, witnesses, lawyers for the prosecution, and court staff ahead of the trial’s start. On April 30, Merchan slapped Trump with a $9,000 fine for disobeying the non-dissemination order.

The judge issued an 8-page ruling centering around several of Trump’s social media posts. The prosecution had presented 10 posts he made on TRUTH Social, claiming he violated the gag order. Merchan agreed with nine of them, tossing the tenth one because he felt the prosecution didn’t meet the burden of evidence. The judge then fined Trump the maximum, $1,000 per violation, totaling $9,000. The justice also ordered the former president to remove the offending posts, which he did that afternoon.

However, Merchan expressed his displeasure with the maximum penalty, saying the amount didn’t really damage someone who could so easily afford to pay it. He then warned Trump that if he continued violating the gag order, he would face “an incarceratory punishment.”

Merchan also had words for those who would attack him on social media, cautioning that the order should “not be used as a sword instead of a shield by potential witnesses.” He reasoned that should they continue to provoke Trump online, then they never really needed the order to protect them in the first place.

Trump contended that the order was “unconstitutional,” while his attorneys maintained that he was simply responding to political attacks on social media, which was well within his First Amendment rights. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him. Experts expect the trial to last at least another month.

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