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Donald Trump Warned Over Breaking Gag Order

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Donald Trump has been warned that if he breaks the gag order imposed in his hush money case, he could risk jail time.

Speaking on CNN, LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge who worked at the California Superior Court said the former president risks imprisonment over his online behavior.

On Tuesday, Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order against Trump after the former president made a series of public comments about Merchan and his daughter, Loren Merchan. Trump attacked Merchan’s daughter for her work in Democratic political circles and called for the judge to be recused from the case.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records over hush money payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep an alleged affair secret before the 2016 election. Prosecutors led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg allege the payments were part of a scheme to stop potentially damaging stories about the Republican from becoming public. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2024, has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the 34 charges against him in the case.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump in Massapequa, Long Island, New York, on March 28, 2024. A gag order was imposed last week in the former president’s hush money case regarding Stormy Daniels.

Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

“When he steps across that gag order line—and I do hope it will be expanded—there should be only one response: bring your toothbrush Donald Trump because you’re going to sit in a jail cell for a while,” Cordell said. “There has to be an immediate consequence when he defies a court order. That is a normal response. You cannot have a court system that is subjected to these kinds of threats and intimidation. Nowhere else has this ever happened and gone without any consequences and that has to change and it has to change now.”

Cordell said Trump is “tiptoeing very close” to breaking the gag order and that many people think there are “double standards” regarding how he is treated by the courts.

She said: “When I was on the bench there’s no way anyone would carry on like this without more severe consequences, but I think now it’s starting to sink into these judges that their lives, the family members are all at stake her in terms of the threats of violence and intimidation. So there’s nothing left for them to do other than to go the next step. I don’t know what the mystique is or magic is about not putting Donald Trump in a jail cell so that he understands the immediate consequences of not behaving as a normal adult in the courtroom.”

Meanwhile, Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama said in a blog post that if the Republican breaks the order, he can be held in criminal contempt, which is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 30 days in jail in New York.

“Given the total failure of multi-million dollar fines to constrain Trump’s behavior, custody is the only sensible approach here,” she wrote.

In response to a request for comment, a Trump spokesperson told Newsweek:

Newsweeks [sic] seems to take its legal advice from some very shady and dubious people. Maybe that’s why the publication is wrong all the time.”

The New York trial is scheduled to begin on April 15. Trump is facing three other criminal indictments, two concerning allegedly conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and another relating to keeping classified documents when he left office and allegedly obstructing attempts by law enforcement to retrieve them. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges across these cases.