Donald Trump again threatened with imprisonment for contempt of court during his trial in New York

Donald Trump again threatened with imprisonment for contempt of court during his trial in New York
Donald Trump again threatened with imprisonment for contempt of court during his trial in New York

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

At the end of a new day of debates, prosecutors indicated that they were counting on approximately two more weeks to hear the rest of the witnesses in this unprecedented trial for a former American president.

“They want two or three more weeks,” the Republican candidate for the November presidential election against the Democratic outgoing Joe Biden was indignant, once again denouncing “electoral interference.”

“And the judge is happy to give them three more weeks because they all want to keep me away from the campaign,” he added.

At the opening of the hearing in the morning, 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. 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.

Pursued in four separate criminal proceedings, Donald Trump seeks through his multiple appeals to go to trial as late as possible.

This trial in New York, of a smaller 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 therefore be the only one tried before the election of November 5.

Check stubs

In this case, for which he risks a conviction and, in theory, up to a prison sentence, he is being prosecuted for 34 falsifications of accounting documents which would have been used to conceal a payment of 130,000 dollars.

This sum was used, in the home stretch of the 2016 presidential election, won narrowly against Hillary Clinton, to buy the silence of former porn actress Stormy Daniels over a sexual relationship she claimed to have had with the mogul real estate in 2006.

An affair that Donald Trump, then already married to his current wife, Melania, categorically denies.

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

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.

That of Monday focused on the reimbursement of Michael Cohen, the terms of which a director of the Trump Organization, Jeffrey McConney, explained in detail. Then Deborah Tarasoff, from the accounting department of the Trump Organization, succeeded him at the helm, explaining in particular about two check stubs of $35,000 each.

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

The former president targets in particular Michael Cohen, who turned against him and cooperates with the prosecution, and the jurors, whose impartiality he questions.

If he were elected again, he could, once invested 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 supposedly management casual access to classified documents after his departure from the White House.

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