Judge still threatens Trump with jail for contempt of New York court | TV5MONDE

Judge still threatens Trump with jail for contempt of New York court | TV5MONDE
Judge still threatens Trump with jail for contempt of New York court | TV5MONDE

The judge at Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York again threatened the former US president on Monday prison for violating his ban on verbally attacking witnesses and jurors.

Judge Juan Merchan fined Donald Trump $1,000 “for violating his order by making public comments about the jury and how it was selected,” according to his written decision. At this unprecedented trial for a former president, he also warned him that future offenses would be “punishable by incarceration”.

At issue, an interview in which the defendant criticized the speed of the jury selection, completed in a week, and its presumed composition, in a very predominantly Democratic city.

In this trial fraught with political issues, the Republican candidate for the November presidential election against the Democratic incumbent Joe Biden risks conviction and, in theory, up to a prison sentence.

This case is one of four criminal proceedings in which he is charged. But due to recourse in other cases, this trial in New York, of a lesser scale, particularly compared to his indictment by federal justice in Washington for illegal attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden, could be the only one judged before the November 5 election.

Donald Trump is being prosecuted for 34 falsifications of accounting documents which allegedly served to conceal the payment of $130,000 to former porn star Stormy Daniels in the home stretch of the 2016 presidential election, won narrowly against Hillary Clinton.

This sum was used to buy Stormy Daniels’ silence about a sexual relationship she claimed to have had with the real estate mogul in 2006, when he was already married to his current wife, Melania. A relationship that Donald Trump denies.

The $130,000 was paid by his lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, via a shell company. He was reimbursed in 2017 by the billionaire’s business group, the Trump Organization, for expenses disguised as “legal fees”, hence the prosecution for falsification of accounting documents.

Moments of emotion and technical sequences

Since its opening on April 15, the trial has alternated moments of legal drama and dry, highly technical sequences.

Friday’s hearing was marked by the tears of Hope Hicks, former communications manager for Donald Trump, who recounted the “crisis” in which the broadcast of an old recording of the billionaire’s vulgar remarks about women.

Monday’s hearing was devoted to the reimbursement of Michael Cohen, an executive of the Trump Organization, Jeffrey McConney, by explaining the modalities in detail.

In the afternoon, Deborah Tarasoff, from the accounting of the Trump Organization, succeeded him at the helm.

As he has tirelessly done since the start of the trial, Donald Trump accused his Democratic opponents of using justice to eliminate him from the presidential race.

Last week, Judge Merchan fined him $9,000, or $1,000 per offense, for publicly attacking witnesses and jurors on the sidelines of his trial and threatened to send him to prison in the event of recidivism.

The former president targets in particular Michael Cohen, who turned against him and cooperates with the prosecution, or jurors, whom he implies are not impartial.

If he were elected again, Donald Trump could, once inaugurated in January 2025, order the abandonment of the two federal proceedings against him, in Washington but also in Florida (southeast), where he is being prosecuted for his management supposedly casually leaking classified documents after leaving the White House.

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