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May 06, 2024 12:05 PM UTC

Trump Hush Money Trial: He WANTS To Go To Jail, Doesn't He?

  • 6 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Today’s biggest development in the ongoing criminal trial of former President Donald Trump on charges of falsifying business records to conceal a “hush money” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels while running for President in 2016 was a tenth contempt of court ruling against Trump from Judge Juan Merchan, which came with the explicit threat of jail time for the former President if it happens again. Washington Post:

Donald Trump was threatened with jail for any future violations of a limited gag order imposed in his falsifying business records case.

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan made it clear to Trump that his 10th gag order violation — which he ruled on at the start of Monday’s court session — was going to be the last that would result in only a fine…

The judge noted that jailing Trump would require a monumental effort involving several law enforcement agencies including the Secret Service and New York’s corrections department.

“To take that step would be disruptive to these proceedings,” Merchan added.

Trump’s latest contempt citation stems from even more attacks by Trump on the court and now the seated jury in his case, CNN reports:

“Defendant violated the Order by making public statements about the jury and how it was selected,” Merchan wrote. “In doing so, Defendant not only called into question the integrity, and therefore the legitimacy of these proceedings, but again raised the specter of fear for the safety of the jurors and of their loved ones.”

The ruling also makes clear the possibility of jail time going forward.

“(B)ecause this is now the tenth time that this Court has found Defendant in criminal contempt, spanning three separate motions, it is apparent that monetary fines have not, and will not, suffice to deter Defendant from violating this Court’s lawful orders,” Merchan wrote. “THEREFORE, Defendant is hereby put on notice that if appropriate and warranted, future violations of its lawful orders will be punishable by incarceration.”

Trump has shown absolutely no sign of contrition over these repeated contempt rulings, and seems to be on a collision course with the end of Judge Merchan’s patience–deliberately continuing to defy the judge’s gag order in the case and goading Merchan to impose the unprecedented penalty of the jailing of a former President who enjoys Secret Service protection. CNN reports that options between simply letting Trump defy the judge with impunity and “dressing in” to a New York City jail include briefly detaining the former President in a holding cell at the courthouse. Even that brief and limited sanction would be historic, and at this point it’s evident that Trump is pushing the judge’s buttons very much on purpose to elicit sympathy from the sanctions the judge is forced to impose–and remain far more lenient than any other defendant engaging in Trump’s daily antics would be.

Trump’s contemptuous antics also serve another purpose: distracting from the increasingly damning testimony accumulating in the case, which last Friday featured longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks. Norm Eisen writing for CNN explains why Hicks’ testimony was especially destructive for Trump despite her appearance as an unfriendly witness to the prosecution:

Hicks explained that the impact of the [Access Hollywood] tape’s release was devastating in and outside the campaign. A telling detail she shared Friday: The public impact was so dominant that the initial 36 hours of coverage pushed a category 4 hurricane that was about to make landfall on the East Coast out of the news. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo lingered for a bit over his questioning on the anecdote, and with good reason. Hicks’ implication was that this was a category 5 hurricane — or higher. That explains why Trump and his campaign could not afford another damaging sex scandal in the immediate aftermath of the tape. [Pols emphasis]

Another devastating blow came at the very end of Hicks’ direct testimony when she revealed a stunning trifecta: that, while president, Trump had admitted to her that he knew his then-fixer Michael Cohen had paid Daniels, that Trump attempted to blame Cohen and that Hicks did not believe him. She also stated that Trump felt it was better to be dealing with it after the election than beforehand. She appeared so distraught — presumably about throwing her former boss under the bus — that she then began crying.

Prosecutors are taking the time to lay out the entire case from the beginning so jurors understand the full context of the payment to Daniels and subsequent accounting sleight of hand to conceal it. They’re chipping away at the foundations of Trump’s denial of the allegations underlying the “hush money” payment in order to make Trump’s attempt to shift the blame onto subordinates like Michael Cohen implausible. Trump’s allies like Hope Hicks and former Enquirer publisher David Pecker simply told the truth about the scheme, and that was all prosecutors required of them.

It’s a scandal that would have wrecked the political career of anyone else without even entering a courtroom. But for Donald Trump, pushing the limits of society’s tolerance is more than a defense mechanism; it’s a way of life.

Comments

6 thoughts on “Trump Hush Money Trial: He WANTS To Go To Jail, Doesn’t He?

  1. If Donald Trump is arrested there will be riots in the street

    – –  Lindsay Grahams. 

    Do it already! Jail trump and let them get agitated.

    1. I swear, for the so-called "Law & Order" party that hates any form of protest, and riots, conflating the two, they seem to rely on riots to throw a tantrum when they don't get their way.

    1. It's not the he can't afford the penalties. It's that the penalties are tantamount to you or me getting a $10 parking citation  for staying beyond the metered time. The amounts are so small that they are a mere nuisance and are not working as a deterrent.

      He's not the billionaire he claims to be but he was still about to get his $175 million bond in the case brought bh Leticia James. He can easily get his hands on $9,000 to pay one of his more recent financial sanctions.

      Correct me if I'm wrong but I read somewhere that Judge Merchan cannot go much higher than the $9,000 he previously assessed Trump. 

      That is unfortunate because one thing that we do know – from the E. Jean Carroll case – is that when $5 million awarded by the jury in the first case increased to $83 million awarded by the jury in the second case, it caught Trump's attention, he started to clam up and has been more reluctant to trash her.  So, using a multiplier of 16.6 to each contempt fine may catch his attention. Or not. Again, if the judge is capped on how much he can assess, then this is not going to get anywhere.

      I agree with JohnNorthOfDenver. I hope the judge is not cutting Trump any slack because he fears the public outcry from the MAGAverse. Those assholes are going to burn the place down like they did on 1/6 either when Trump is cited for contempt and jailed, or if Trump is convicted in NYC and sentenced, or if Biden wins in November. In other words, there are a lot of things that will set off those lunatics. Judges cannot live in fear of the mob or the mob wins.

      I saw the sooner we lance this festering pestule on the hindquarters of our nation and drain it of its putrid fluid, the sooner we start to feel better as a nation.

      1. You remembered correctly. Merchan is prohibited from imposing more than $1,000/ violation by NY state law. The judge also has the option of giving him a jail sentence and deferring it to the end of the trial.  

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