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Judge threatens Trump with jail again for contempt of court

  • May 6, 2024
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The judge presiding over the proceedings at Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York once again threatened the former US president on Monday

At the opening of the fourth week of this unprecedented trial for a former American president, Judge Juan Merchan sentenced him to a fine of 1,000 dollars “for having violated his order by making public comments about the jury and the manner from which he was selected,” according to his written decision, and warned him that future offenses would be “punishable by incarceration.”

At issue, an interview in which the defendant criticized the speed of the jury selection, completed in a week, and its presumed composition, in a very predominantly Democratic city.

In this trial fraught with political issues, the Republican candidate for the November election against outgoing Democratic President Joe Biden risks conviction and, in theory, up to a prison sentence in this case, one of four procedures criminal charges in which he is charged.

But by dint of appeals and procedural questions, this trial in New York, of a lesser scale, particularly compared to his indictment by federal justice in Washington for illegal attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden, could be the only one judged before the November 5 election.

Shell company

Last week, Judge Merchan fined him $9,000, or $1,000 per offense, for publicly attacking witnesses and jurors on the sidelines of his trial and threatened to send him to prison in the event of recidivism.

Since the start of the trial on April 15, prosecutors have called for Donald Trump to be punished for his repeated violations of the ban on attacking key witnesses in the case.

These include his former lawyer Michael Cohen or the jurors, who he implies are not impartial.

He is being prosecuted for 34 falsifications of accounting documents which allegedly served to conceal the payment of $130,000 to former porn star Stormy Daniels in the home stretch of the 2016 presidential election, won narrowly against Hillary Clinton.

This sum was used to buy her silence about a sexual relationship she claimed to have had with the real estate mogul in 2006, when he was already married to his current wife, Melania. A relationship that Donald Trump denies.

The $130,000 was paid by Michael Cohen, via a shell company. He was reimbursed in 2017 by the billionaire’s business group, the Trump Organization, for expenses disguised as “legal fees”, hence the prosecution for falsification of accounting documents.

If he were elected again, Donald Trump could, once inaugurated in January 2025, order the abandonment of the two federal proceedings against him, in Washington but also in Florida (southeast), where he is being prosecuted for his management supposedly casually leaking classified documents after leaving the White House.