NY v Trump: Judge threatens jail time for 'possibly the next president' for future violations of gag order

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Judge Juan Merchan said Monday he will consider a prison sentence for former President Trump if he continues to violate the silence order imposed on him in his unprecedented criminal trial.

Merchan imposed a silence order on Trump before the trial began, ordering that Trump cannot make public statements or direct others to make public statements about witnesses regarding their possible participation or about counsel in the case – with an exception from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg – or about the court. staff, DA staff or family members of the staff.

NY VS TRUMP: THE EVIDENCE APPLICANT MAY PROVIDE IF FORMER PRESIDENT TESTIFIES

Former President Trump, left, attends the first day of his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 15, 2024. Judge Juan Merchan poses for a photo in his chambers on Thursday, March 14, 2024, in New York. (Angela Weiss/AFP via AP, POOL/AP)

Bragg and prosecutors have alleged more than a dozen violations of the silence order and have already fined the former president $9,000 for those violations.

Merchan on Monday fined the former president $1,000 for an additional violation, but said it is “clear” the fine — $1,000 per violation — is ineffective.

The filing states that Trump “is hereby notified that, when appropriate and justified, future violations of his lawful orders will be punishable by imprisonment.”

Donald Trump and his lawyer Todd Blanche watch as prosecutor Matthew Colangelo makes opening statements during Trump's criminal trial

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, right, makes opening statements as former President Trump looks on with his attorney Todd Blanche before Judge Juan Merchan during Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to hide money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City on April 22, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Merchan said Monday that the court will have to consider “a prison sentence” in the future.

TRUMP SAYS BIDEN SHOULD BE 'IN PRISON' AND 'ON PROBATION' AS NY DESTROYS CASE: 'THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING'

“The last thing I want to think about is prison,” Merchan said. “You are [the] former president and possibly the next president.”

However, Merchan said he is concerned about “that step” for Trump, pointing to Secret Service protections.

Donald Trump

Former President Trump leaves Trump Tower en route to Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York City. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

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“The magnitude of that decision is not lost on me,” Merchan said. “Your continued willful violation of the court's order… constitutes a direct attack… and will not be allowed to continue… It will not be allowed to continue.”

Trump and his lawyers have argued that the former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee should not be bound by the silence order because it violates both his First Amendment rights and the First Amendment rights of his supporters.

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