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Donald Trump’s Repeated Attacks Could Land Him in Jail: Ex-Judge

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Donald Trump could face jail if he doesn’t obey an expanded gag order in the Stormy Daniels hush money case, a retired federal judge has said.

Shira Scheindlin, who presided in the Southern District of New York, told CNN’s Kaitlin Collins on Monday night that Trump has already been given a warning to stop commenting on the case.

“The first thing you can do is to give a warning. I think that’s been covered,” Scheindlin said. The second step would be a fine, followed by jail, the judge added.

Justice Juan Merchan amended Trump’s gag order on Monday to include Merchan’s own daughter Loren Merchan and said Trump had a history of attacking the family members of judges and attorneys.

“This pattern of attacking family members of presiding jurists and attorneys assigned to his cases serves no legitimate purpose,” Merchan wrote. “It merely injects fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings that not only they, but their family members as well, are ‘fair game,’ for Defendant’s vitriol.”

donald trump ny police wake
Donald Trump at a wake for New York Police Department (NYPD) Officer Jonathan Diller in Massapequa. Trump could face jail if he continually breaches an expanded gag order in his hush money case, says a…


Angela Weiss/Getty Images

New York prosecutors have charged Trump with 34 felonies, accusing him of falsifying business records and concealing hush-money payments made to adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of his criminal charges and insists that his legal difficulties, which include a number of recent civil judgments, are part of a coordinated effort by Democrats to block him from returning to the White House.

Newsweek sought email comment from Trump’s attorney on Sunday.

Scheindlin, who was a federal judge in Manhattan for more than 20 years, said that Merchan will likely fine Trump if he violates the expanded gag order, just as Judge Arthur Engoron did in Trump’s New York fraud case.

Scheindlin said that, after a warning and a fine, the next step for Trump could be jail.

“The third step, and it has to happen sometimes with contempt, is actually putting somebody in the cell until they understand that the behavior is absolutely unacceptable,” she said.

Scheindlin added that any judge would be reluctant to jail Trump for contempt. “Now, is that [jailing Trump] what anybody wants to do? No, because that would only make him a martyr; so nobody really wants to put him in a cell.”

“He’s again being treated differently than any other defendant because any other defendant would be incarcerated if they did not stop the behavior,” she said. “But we’ve got a problem here… it’s really hard to muzzle him with the threat of incarceration because, as I said, that would only make him a martyr.”

Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social on Thursday, March 28, to criticize Merchan and his daughter again, a week after a gag order was issued.

One of Trump’s posts focused on an image published by an account on X, formerly Twitter, supposedly run by Loren Merchan, which shared a mock-up image of the former president behind bars. The account, however, is no longer linked to Loren Merchan and appears to have been taken over by another person since she deleted it last year.

In a court filing on April 1, Trump’s lawyers acknowledged that the account was “attributed” to Loren Merchan, but that the post in question was not published by the judge’s daughter.

Monday’s filing from Trump’s legal team was in response to a request from Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, to clarify whether Merchan’s order protects family members of the judge and court staff from facing attacks by the former president. The district attorney’s office argued that Trump’s “dangerous, violent, and reprehensible rhetoric fundamentally threatens the integrity” of the case, and that Merchan’s original order should be expanded to protect family members of the court.

“This Court should immediately make clear that defendant is prohibited from making or directing others to make public statements about family members of the Court, the District Attorney, and all other individuals mentioned in the Order,” Bragg’s filing on Monday read.

And in his responding order on Monday, Merchan said that Trump is still permitted to criticize the court and the district attorney, but cannot criticize their family members.

Trump earlier last week had made two social media posts denouncing Merchan’s daughter as a “super liberal” operative for Democrats.