Trump Is Threatened With Jail at His Criminal Trial: 5 Takeaways

Donald J. Trump’s Monday began with a grave warning from Juan M. Merchan, the judge presiding over the former president’s criminal trial, threatening to imprison him if he continued to flout a gag order.

Justice Merchan said that the fines levied against Mr. Trump — $10,000 so far — “are not serving as a deterrent.”

The judge said that “therefore, going forward, this court will have to consider jail.”

That warning preceded a desert-dry description of a $130,000 payment made by Mr. Trump’s fixer, Michael D. Cohen, to a porn star to buy her silence about her story of a one-night stand in 2006. That testimony was elicited from two employees, one current and one retired, of the Trump Organization.

The former president is accused of falsifying business records to cover up that $130,000 payment. Mr. Trump, 77, the first American president to face criminal prosecution, has denied the charges and says he did not have sex with the woman, Stormy Daniels. If convicted, he could face prison time or probation.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Trump’s 12th day on trial:

Trump’s comments continue to bring him trouble.

Justice Merchan once again found Mr. Trump in contempt for violating his gag order that prohibited attacks on jurors, witnesses, court staff and others. It was Mr. Trump’s 10th violation, and resulted from an April 22 interview in which he said the jury was from “a purely Democrat area,” calling those circumstances “very unfair.”

Justice Juan M. Merchan told the former president that his comments were an attack on the rule of law.Credit…Ahmed Gaber for The New York Times

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