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Donald Trump fined $9,000 for contempt of court

Photo: Brendan McDermid Associated Press In his written decision, the judge assures that he will not tolerate new violations and threatens the Republican candidate for the November presidential election with “incarceration” in the event of a repeat offense.

Gregory Walton – Agence France-Presse and Andréa Bambino – Agence France-Presse in New York

Published at 10:30 a.m. Updated at 12:30 p.m.

  • United States

Donald Trump was fined US$9,000 on Tuesday for publicly attacking witnesses and jurors on the sidelines of his criminal trial in New York, where the judge threatened to incarcerated if he did it again.

Donald Trump “is warned that the Court will not tolerate the continuation of willful violations of its orders […] If necessary and appropriate, it will impose a prison sentence”, writes Judge Juan Merchan in his decision rendered upon resumption of the debates.

The magistrate sentenced the former president of the United States, present in the courtroom for this third week of trial, to 1,000 US dollars fine per violation — nine in total, the maximum allowed by law — and ordered his attacks removed from his Truth Social network or campaign site.

Since the start of the trial, prosecutors had asked that Donald Trump be punished for his repeated violations of the ban on attacking key witnesses in the case, such as his former lawyer Michael Cohen and former porn star Stormy Daniels , or even to the jurors, whom he implies are not impartial.

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Even before the judge ruled on these first violations, prosecutors raised new ones, which will be examined on Thursday, with possible new sanctions for Donald Trump.

When he arrived in court on Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate once again presented himself as a victim of legal proceedings “driven by the White House and Democratic judges and prosecutors.” And he again called on the judge, whom he regularly describes as “corrupt”, to recuse himself.

First former president in the history of the United States to be on criminal trial, Donald Trump, 77, faces conviction and, in theory, up to prison time in this case, one of four in which he is charged.

It is also probably the only one that will be decided before the November 5 election, during which he dreams of revenge on Joe Biden.

Empty shell

Donald Trump is being prosecuted for 34 falsifications of accounting documents which were allegedly used to conceal a payment to cover up a potential sex scandal in the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign.

A sum of 130,000 dollars was paid to Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about a sexual relationship she claimed to have had with him in 2006, when he was already married. A relationship he denies. The prosecution speaks of a “plot” to “falsify” the election when the defense sees it as the normal functioning of democracy.

After a first week devoted to jury selection, the debates focused last week on the compelling testimony of a former tabloid boss, who set the scene for the case.

David Pecker, who owned “The National Enquirer,” recounted how he helped Donald Trump's campaign in 2016 by purchasing exclusive rights to two other potentially scandal-provoking testimonies. All after a meeting in the summer of 2015 with Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

But David Pecker, who had not been reimbursed, refused to pay Stormy Daniels when his case came up.

On Tuesday, the hearings resumed with testimony from Michael Cohen's former banker, Gary Farro. He detailed how this “difficult customer”, for whom “90% of the time the requests were urgent”, had asked him to open an account for a new company, in fact an empty shell which was used to pay Stormy Daniels.

“If the customer had told me it was a shell company, I would not have opened” the account, he said testified.

Michael Cohen was then reimbursed, in 2017, by Donald Trump's business group, the Trump Organization. These expenses had been recorded as “legal costs”, hence the prosecution for accounting falsification.

At the start of the trial, the judge listed the names of around forty potential witnesses, including Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, but also Steve Bannon, one of Donald Trump's former political strategists, or Hope Hicks, his former White House communications director.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116