Prosecutors Expanding Their Push For Penalties On Trump For Alleged Gag Order Violations

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At a high-profile court hearing early Tuesday, a member of the prosecution in a New York City criminal case against former President Donald Trump indicated intentions to widen their push for penalties on the ex-White House occupant over alleged violations of a gag order put on Trump in the case.

The prosecutor was referring specifically to comments from Trump on Monday that were disparaging towards Michael Cohen, an ex-“fixer” for the ex-president who’s also expected as a trial witness. The prosecutor alleged that, on Monday, “here in this building, right outside those doors […] the defendant violated the order again on camera.” And according to legal journalist Adam Klasfeld (an initial source for that quote), the same prosecutor indicated intentions of updated filings from District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s team adding the incident to Trump’s alleged violations.

Already included were a series of social media posts invoking expected witnesses or targeting the process of assembling the jury, which was finalized late last week, teeing up opening statements on Monday.

Prosecutors were not seeking detention for the former president, starting instead with pushing for financial penalties, although a member of the prosecution (the same lawyer as above) suggested that Trump was himself moving towards that prospect. “We are not yet seeking an incarceratory penalty,” remarked the lawyer. “Defendant seems to be angling for that.”

Presiding Judge Juan Merchan was reserving final judgment on the dispute for later. Though prosecutors weren’t seeking its immediate implementation, the local team did also want the prospect of detention reiterated to the ex-president. Reportedly, findings of contempt can produce a jail sentence up to 30 days at a time. Trump has openly spoken about the possibility of him going to prison, saying at one point that in such a scenario he’d be like a rehash of icon Nelson Mandela… certainly a reach to suggest. Trump’s case continues with further trial proceedings early on Thursday.

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