Judge fines Trump for 10th gag order violation, warns about jail


A judge on Monday fined former President Donald Trump for violating a gag order in his New York hush money case for a tenth time.

Prosecutors had alleged Trump violated the gag order an additional four times, but Judge Juan Merchan found only one instance violated the order.

In his ruling, the judge fined Trump $1,000 for comments he made during an April 22, 2024, interview with “Just the News No Noise.” During the interview, Trump said the jury was packed with Democrats.

“You know [the judge is] rushing the trial like crazy. Nobody’s ever seen a thing go like this,” Trump said during the interview. “That jury was picked so fast – 95% Democrats. The area’s mostly all Democrat. You think of it as a – just a purely Democrat area. It’s a very unfair situation that I can tell you.”

Merchan said that was a violation of the gag order in the case. The gag order, ordered in March before the trial began, remains in place. Trump, the nation’s 45th president, is prohibited from making or directing others to make public statements about the jurors, witnesses, attorneys, court staff, district attorney staff and family members of staff.

Merchan said Trump’s comments about jury selection violated his order.

“Defendant violated the order by making public statements about the jury and how it was selected,” Merchan wrote in the order Monday. “In doing so, defendant not only called into question the integrity, and therefore the legitimacy of these proceedings, but again raised the specter of fear for the safety of the jurors and of their loved ones.”

Last month, Merchan fined Trump $9,000 for nine violations of the gag order.

Merchan said the next step would be jail for Trump.

“However, because this is now the tenth time that this Court has found Defendant in criminal contempt, spanning three separate motions, it is apparent that monetary fines have not and will not, suffice to deter Defendant from violating this Court’s lawful orders,” Merchan wrote. “Therefore, Defendant is hereby put on notice that if appropriate and warranted, future violations of its lawful orders will be punishable by incarceration.”

Trump, 77, is the first former U.S. president to be charged with a felony.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to money paid to Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Bragg has alleged Trump broke New York law when he falsified with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments that involve Daniels ($130,000), McDougal ($150,000), and Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen ($420,000). Prosecutors allege the money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements. Both Cohen and Daniels are expected to testify.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied the sexual encounters.

Trump is challenging President Joe Biden for the White House in November.