It’s Perfectly Feasible For Trump To Be Jailed For Gag Order Violations, Expert Says


In a discussion with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann characterized a new post to social media by ex-President Donald Trump as clearly at odds with a gag order imposed in his New York City criminal case, in which trial started Monday.

The order blocks a range of public attacks from Trump on family members of various individuals involved in the case, witnesses, and jurors, the last of whom were Trump’s target in his latest disputed rhetoric. Specifically, Trump shared a deceptive claim originating with Fox News of anti-Trump figures supposedly lying in hopes of getting on the Trump jury in NYC. As the argument here goes, Trump’s setting up a potential finding of contempt, the consequences for which could include imprisonment.

“For whatever political purposes he may be doing that, he is clearly asking for it, and I think that it is incumbent on the judge to treat him like any other party,” Weissmann said, suggesting that local prosecutors might revise filings they’ve already made accusing Trump of violating his gag order to include this.

And Weissmann argued it is perfectly feasible for Trump to be jailed, should circumstances progress to that. “There are places in jails that somebody can be kept very safe,” the ex-prosecutor argued. “And so, put him in a cell with no one else in that cell. […] There’s also ways to put somebody in lock-up for a temporary period of time in the courthouse, but that’s all — remember, the first step, I think, is fines that are one of the mandated sanctions, and then a second step can be jail up to 30 days for any single violation.” And in theory, Weissmann said, each individual social media post by Trump that’s found to flout the gag order could be considered a single violation, adding on to his penalties.