Trump Deserves Sharply Tightened Controls On His Social Media Amid Trial, Expert Argues

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In the aftermath of a challenge to former President Donald Trump accusing him of violating his gag order imposed amid a New York City criminal case, former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann is suggesting, as a baseline, stricter controls on Trump’s social media presence. In terms of what he uses personally, that’s mostly just an account on Truth Social, a knock-off social media site behind which Trump himself is involved in the business.

“If Judge Merchan doesn’t want to put Trump in jail now for contempt, he shd impose a monitor now to screen his social media so they don’t violate the gag order,” Weissmann told his followers on X (Twitter).

Routine consequences for contempt include financial penalties and a stint in detention of up to 30 days at a time — with the latter already coming up in court (repeatedly), although prosecutors aren’t seeking the consequence at this time and putting a former president into detention would be, of course, unprecedented.

The underlying case against Trump involves charges of falsifying business records in connection to hush money from before the 2016 elections for a woman named Stormy Daniels, and prosecutors connect these alleged acts to alleged ambitions of impacting the 2016 presidential race in a manner favorable to Trump. The idea is that keeping Daniels’ story of an affair with Trump under wraps stood to benefit his campaign, a notion already upheld to some extent by a past criminal case against ex-Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, who provided Daniels the money. Both Cohen and Daniels are expected witnesses at trial.

The gag order blocks a range of public attacks by Trump on such individuals, and prosecutors allege that an extensive series of public comments/posts by Trump violated the directives. There was a hearing on prosecutors’ challenge on Tuesday, at which the judge tore into a Trump lawyer’s suggestion that relevant parties were diligently working to comply with his order, though the judge reserved final judgment on prosecutors’ challenge for later.