Judge Threatens Trump With Jail, Worries About Secret Service Detail Behind Bars, After Trump Slams ‘95 Percent Democrats’ Jury

With a trembling voice, the judge threatened to send the former and ‘possibly the next’ president to jail, if Mr. Trump violates the gag order again.

Elizabeth Williams via AP
Judge Juan Merchan, right, speaks to President Trump regarding his contempt ruling in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 6, 2024, at New York. Elizabeth Williams via AP

“Good morning everyone, and good morning, Mr. Trump,” the New York State Supreme Court judge, Juan Merchan, greeted the court on Monday, the twelfth day of the ongoing hush-money trial brought against Mr. Trump by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg. Before the prosecution could call its next witness, the judge addressed the latest gag order violations.  

“I find you in criminal contempt for the tenth time,” Judge Merchan ruled. 

Last Tuesday, Judge Merchan had fined Mr. Trump a total sum of $9,000 for nine violations of the gag order.

On Monday, the judge found that Mr. Trump violated the gag order again, when during an interview on April 22 on a program called “Just the News, No Noise”, which is broadcast on Real America’s Voice, a conservative streaming, cable and satellite channel channel, Mr. Trump said, “You know [the judge is] rushing the trial like crazy. Nobody’s ever seen a thing like this. That jury was picked so fast – 95 percent 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.”

Judge Juan Merchan presides over Donald Trump’s trial at Manhattan criminal court. Elizabeth Williams via AP
Loren Merchan, Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter, has worked as a Democratic operative. Facebook

The gag order, imposed by Judge Merchan to protect trial participants, prohibits Mr. Trump from making public statements about the witnesses, the jurors, the court staff, counsel and their family members for the duration of the trial. Mr. Trump has fiercely criticized the gag order. 

On Monday morning, he told court reporters, “I’m not supposed to be talking… He’s taken away my constitutional right to speak. I was in Miami this weekend, and reporters are asking questions, the same questions you’re asking me. I had to say I had a gag order and I couldn’t speak about it. It’s never happened before, ever.” 

Barrett Blade (L), the porn performer and fourth husband of Stormy Daniels (R) attend the 2024 Adult Video News Awards at Resorts World Las Vegas on January 27, 2024 at Las Vegas, Nevada.Ethan Miller/Getty Images
President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, and his behavior, is a focus of Mr. Trump’s hush money trial. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Mr. Trump and his attorney have argued that the gag order is injust, because key witnesses like Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and current nemesis, Michael Cohen, can speak about Mr. Trump in public, while he cannot respond. The judge reasoned that Cohen is not a defendant in a criminal case, and Mr. Trump is. Another key witness, the porn star Stormy Daniels, has published a book, “Full Disclosure”, which contains derisive descriptions of Mr. Trump, and has also made derogatory comments about him in a recent documentary, “Stormy”, on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service.    

Mr. Trump has also furiously criticized Judge Merchan’s adult daughter, Loren, a Democratic operative who’s worked with such Trump enemies as Vice President Harris and Congressman Adam Schiff. It was after Mr. Trump pummeled Mr. Loren with criticism that the gag order was expanded to include family members.

President Donald Trump and attorneys Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles attend his trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on May 6, 2024 at New York City. Peter Foley-Pool/Getty Images

On Monday, Judge Merchan told Mr. Trump, “It appears that the $1,000 fines are not a deterrent… As much as I do not want to impose a jail sanction… I want you to understand that I will, if necessary, and appropriate.”  

In a trembling voice, he added, “You are the former president of the United States and possibly the next president as well… but at the end of the day, I have a job to do and part of that job is to protect the dignity of the judicial system.”  

President Trump speaks to the media at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 6, 2024 at New York City. Peter Foley-Pool/Getty Images

Judge Merchan, who was visibly uncomfortable threatening to send a former president to jail, further said, “There are many reasons why incarceration is truly a last resort.” He expressed concern about court officers and Secret Service staff. Should Mr. Trump be sent to jail he would, by law, be entitled to Secret Service protection behind bars. 

Incarcerating a former president is an unprecedented situation, but if he were treated like a typical defendant in Manhattan, Mr. Trump would most likely be sent to New York’s Rikers Island, which is currently housing his longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. The loyal Trump Organization lifer is doing a second, multi-month stint at the notorious jail after he refused to turn states’ evidence against his former boss. 

The New York Sun

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