Judge Slaps Donald Trump With Fines For Violating Gag Order

On April 30, 2024, Judge Juan Merchan slapped a fine of $9,000 on former President Donald Trump and held him in contempt for violating his gag order. He warned that he might impose jail time for future violations.

Merchan instructed Trump to remove the offending posts by 2:15 pm  on April 30 and to pay the fine by May 3. He threw out Trump’s defense that he was just engaging in political  by replying to attacks by witnesses such as Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, declaring that the Court is “keenly aware of, and protective of, Defendant’s First Amendment rights, particularly given his candidacy for the office of President of the United States.”

“It is critically important that Defendant’s legitimate free speech rights not be curtailed, that he be able to fully campaign for the office which he seeks and that he be able to respond and defend himself against political attacks,” Merchan said in his decision. “For that reason, this Court exercised discretion when it crafted the Expanded Order and delayed issuing it until the eve of trial.”

That said, Merchan cautioned Trump that he “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.”

Prosecutors contend in the court filings that Trump violated the order in 10 cases, calling for the judge to impose the maximum $1,000 fine for all of the alleged violations. The gag order bars Trump from issuing statements about witnesses, prosecutors outside of the district attorney, court staff, and jurors, in addition to family members of the staff, district attorney, or judge. 

Prosecutors recently brought up 4 new violations of the order, which Merchan considered during a hearing on May 2.

“He’s allowed to respond to political attacks, Your Honor,” Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche said to the judge during a hearing the previous week that dealt with the alleged violations, per a Politico report. “There is no dispute that President Trump is facing a barrage of political attacks from all sides, including from the two witnesses referenced in the early post.” 

Merchan imposed the gag order on Trump on March 26, but broadened it on April 1 after Trump launched an attack against  his daughter on social media.

Trump is clearly being persecuted here by the ruling class. The US is no longer the land of the free and is now a Banana Republic where the rule of law goes to die.

Nothing short of an America First revolution in the political scene is needed for order to be restored in the US.

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