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NY Civil Lawsuit & Criminal Trial Against Donald Trump & Family

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  • Judge in hush money trial threatens Trump with jail after holding him in contempt for violating gag order
    Judge Juan Merchan warned that if Trump continues to violate his orders, he could impose “an incarceratory punishment.”


    Former President Donald Trump outside Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday.

    The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money case on Tuesdayheld the former president in criminal contempt over a series of posts on Truth Social that he said violated a gag order barring any attacks on jurors and witnesses and warned Trump he could be jailed for further violations.

    Judge Juan Merchan ruled Trump in contempt for nine violations of his gag order, with a fine of $1,000 for each instance. He warned in the decision that he would not tolerate further violations of his orders and said "if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances," he would impose "an incarceratory punishment" on the former president.

    The order prohibits the former president from "making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding," and "public statements about any prospective juror or any juror."

    Merchan had indicated on April 23 that he was not impressed by the arguments from the defense, telling one of Trump's attorneys that he was “losing all credibility” when he suggested that Trump was exercising caution to comply with the gag order.

    Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office had accused Trump of violating Merchan's April 1 order at least 10 times since it went into effect, including a post that called expected witnesses Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels "sleaze bags." Another appeared to be a quote from Fox News personality Jesse Watters that read, “They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury.”

    The DA sought the maximum $1,000 fine for each post they considered a violation, along with an order that Trump remove the posts. Prosecutors had also asked Merchan to warn Trump that any future violations could be met with additional fines and up to 30 days in jail.

    Prosecutor Chris Conroy said during an April 23 morning hearing that Trump “seems to be angling” to be locked up for political purposes.

    Trump’s legal team countered that the former president had not willfully violated the order and that he was simply responding to a “barrage of political attacks.”

    Pressed by the judge, however, Trump attorney Todd Blanche had trouble identifying what attacks Trump was supposedly responding to. “I keep asking you over and over to give me an example and I’m not getting an answer,” the judge said.

    Trump attorney Emil Bove previously said that some of the posts were responses to remarks by Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, and that others were reposted from people and news outlets, which he said did not violate the gag order. Merchan asked for case law to back that position, and Blanche said he did not have any. "It's just common sense, your Honor," Blanche said.

    Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records related to his reimbursement to Cohen for the lawyer's hush money payment to Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 campaign. Daniels claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, an allegation he denies.

    Trump faces up to four years in prison if he’s convicted.
    _________
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

    Comment


    • About time someone stood up to this petulant child.
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain

      Comment


      • Trump nemesis Michael Cohen testifies: 5 takeaways

        Former President Trump’s nemesis in his New York trial took the stand Monday.

        Michael Cohen worked for more than 10 years as Trump’s attorney and fixer. At one time, Cohen famously said he would take a bullet for Trump.

        Cohen has become a staunch critic of the former president after he himself pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and tax evasion in 2018. Cohen later pleaded guilty to lying to Congress as well. He received a prison sentence and was eventually released, after a period of house arrest, in late 2021.

        Trump’s legal team will seek to use this history to destroy Cohen’s credibility.

        The attorney is a central figure in the trial because he paid $130,000 in hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the final stages of the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen was later reimbursed for this payment by Trump and a Trump trust.

        Prosecutors contend that Trump falsely classified the reimbursements as a legal expense to conceal their true purpose — to improve his chances of winning the election by stopping Daniels from going public with her claim she had sex with Trump back in 2006.

        Trump denies having sex with Daniels and denies any legal wrongdoing, arguing the payments to Cohen were indeed legal expenses.

        The former president is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

        Here are five takeaways from Cohen’s first day of testimony.

        Cohen emphasizes how Stormy Daniels posed a danger to Trump’s campaign
        One vital issue in the case is whether Trump wanted to silence Daniels for electoral reasons or simply to stave off personal embarrassment.

        This matters because the offense with which he is charged is usually only a misdemeanor, unless it can be shown to have been committed in furtherance of another crime.

        Prosecutors are arguing that the allegedly falsified business records ultimately amounted to election interference, since the purpose of paying off Daniels was to conceal information from voters that they otherwise would have known. Trump’s team denies this.

        Cohen’s testimony sought to underline the degree to which Trump was concerned that Daniels’s story could sink his White House hopes.

        He said that Trump, upon learning Daniels might go public with her allegation of a sexual encounter, told Cohen: “This is a disaster, total disaster,” adding that while male voters might consider his alleged exploits “cool,” “this is going to be a disaster for the campaign.”

        Cohen also testified that Trump seemed relatively unbothered by the impact on his wife, Melania. Trump allegedly said that he would not be “on the market” for long if things went awry with his wife.

        Is the courtroom an audition stage for Trump’s VP slot?
        Trump has been accompanied by an expanding entourage during the most recent days of the trial.

        On Monday, Sens. JD Vance (R-Ohio) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) showed up at court, as did Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.). Last Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) appeared.

        Three of those four — everyone except Vance — seemed to be there simply as a show of GOP support.

        Last week, Scott also made the kind of attacks from which Trump is restrained by a gag order, including attacking the daughter of Judge Juan Merchan for her work with a Democratic digital consulting firm.

        Vance’s appearance stirred speculation about Trump’s hunt for a running mate, however. The Ohio senator is widely considered to be one of the front-runners for that position.

        Vance, an erstwhile Trump critic, has transformed himself into a staunch loyalist.

        On Monday, in a multipost thread on the social platform X, Vance asserted that he was “now convinced the main goal of the trial is psychological torture.”

        A secret tape explained
        Cohen’s testimony cleared up a question that had floated around the edges of the trial.

        Jurors had already heard a covert recording of Trump that Cohen made back in 2016 — and they did so again Monday.

        The tape features Cohen and Trump discussing a $150,000 agreement with another woman who said she had a sexual relationship with Trump — former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

        It was not clear until Monday why Cohen had recorded that one conversation with Trump but — he says — no others.

        Cohen told the court that he had made the recording so that he could convince David Pecker, the magazine executive who was making the deal directly with McDougal, that he would get reimbursed.

        Pecker “would hear the conversation, and he would know that we’re going to be paying him back, that Mr. Trump was going to be paying him back,” Cohen testified.

        In the end, Pecker did not seek reimbursement.

        The real drama may be still to come
        Cohen’s testimony had been highly anticipated, but it did not reach the dramatic heights that had been seen last week when Daniels testified.

        Reporters in the courtroom noted that there were some occasions when members of the jury looked as if they were becoming a bit bored with his testimony.

        There will be more fireworks once Trump’s team gets a chance to question Cohen.

        Trump stirs over bonus detail
        Trump had his eyes closed for much of the day, renewing questions as to whether he has been snoozing through much of the trial.

        Reporters who are present firmly believe he has been doing so, including today.

        Earlier this month, Trump posted on social media to contest these stories, arguing “I simply close my beautiful blue eyes” at times in order to “listen intensely.”

        In any event, he clearly stirred from his peaceful state Monday at a telling moment — when Cohen was testifying to his disappointment with his bonus in 2016.

        “Trump’s eyes had been closed for quite a while, but a brief expression of what appeared to be pleasure crossed over his face as Cohen describes Trump stiffing him on his end-of-year bonus,” Jonathan Swan of The New York Times noted.
        _________

        This trial has been moving along rather quickly, which is both heartening and impressive.

        It also looks like Don Snoreleone has finally been convinced by his lawyers to stop violating the gag order. I wonder how long he'll be able to keep that up.
        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

        Comment


        • So Republicans are showing up at the courthouse to give campaign speeches and show loyalty? That’s… really weird

          Comment


          • Originally posted by statquo View Post
            So Republicans are showing up at the courthouse to give campaign speeches and show loyalty? That’s… really weird
            Yeeeah...and it gets even worse...

            Speaker Mike Johnson assails Trump’s felony trial in remarkable visit outside courthouse

            U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson assailed the hush money case against Donald Trump Tuesday as an illegitimate “sham,” becoming the highest-ranking Republican to show up at court, embrace the former president’s claims of political persecution and attack the U.S. system of justice.

            It was a remarkable moment in modern American politics: The House speaker amplifying Trump’s defense and turning the Republican Party against the federal and state legal systems that are foundational to the U.S. government and a cornerstone of democracy.

            Johnson, who is second in line for the presidency, called the court system “corrupt.”

            Outside the New York courthouse, he decried “this ridiculous prosecution that is not about justice.” He said, “It’s all about politics.”

            AP correspondent Julie Walker reports House Speaker Mike Johnson lends his support to Donald Trump at court today.

            The speaker is leading a growing list of Republican lawmakers who are criticizing the American judicial system as they rally to Trump’s side, appearing at the courthouse to defend the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Trump is accused of having arranged secret payments to a porn actress to hide negative stories during his successful 2016 campaign for president.

            With Trump stuck in court and barred by a judge’s gag order from criticizing witnesses or certain elements of the case, Johnson and the lawmakers are taking it upon themselves to attack the proceedings, now in a fourth week of witness testimony. They’re using the trial as a de facto campaign stop as they work to return the former president to the White House.

            In portraying the case against Trump as politically motivated, the Republicans are also laying the groundwork to dismiss its significance should the jury convict, and for potential challenges to the fall election, a rematch with President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

            Johnson was a chief architect of Trump’s efforts to challenge the 2020 presidential results ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, mob assault on the U.S. Capitol, and last week he called the hush money trial and the other election-year cases against Trump a “borderline criminal conspiracy.”

            “It is election interference,” Johnson said Tuesday, insisting he was appearing on his own to back Trump, whom he called a friend. “And the American people are not going to let this stand.”

            Unlike other Republicans showing up to show their support, Johnson did not enter the courtroom where Trump is on trial, but dashed back to Washington to open the House chamber for the day.

            Later at the Capitol, Johnson repeated the Republican Party’s claims of the justice system being “weaponized” against Trump and said Americans are “losing faith” in it.

            Also with Trump on Tuesday were U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — both considered possible vice presidential candidates — as well as former GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, one of Trump’s current top surrogates.

            U.S. Sens. JD Vance of Ohio and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama were among those who attended court on Monday.

            Trump’s campaign has lined up allies in recent days to appear at the New York courthouse to attack witnesses and others whom Trump is barred by a judge’s gag order from criticizing himself.

            Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said Monday that he appeared last week at the invitation of Trump senior advisor Susie Wiles. The campaign has said others volunteered to come to New York.

            “The Democrats are using the court system to go after and prosecute, criminally, a political opponent — that’s a crime,” Scott said over the weekend on Fox News. “They’re just thugs trying to stop Trump from being able to run for president.”

            In the short term, the Republicans’ presence at the courthouse and comments critical of the process have let Trump and his allies amplify their message without risking another explicit violation of the gag order. Trump’s attorneys have challenged the gag order as unconstitutional, but an appeals court upheld it on Tuesday.

            Johnson specifically attacked the credibility of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer who began his second day of testimony in the former president’s hush money trial. And others, too.

            He criticized Cohen as “a man who is clearly on a mission for personal revenge,” said lead prosecutor Matthew Colangelo “recently received over $10,000 in payments from the Democratic National Committee” and said the daughter of Judge Juan M. Merchan has made “millions of dollars” doing online fundraising for Democrats.

            Colangelo, who joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2022 and previously worked in the U.S. Justice Department in the Biden administration, did paid “political consulting” work for the DNC in 2018, according to federal campaign finance records.

            The Republican speaker, who is wholly dependent on support from Trump to keep the gavel, has aimed to strengthen their alliance, particularly as Johnson has come under fire from his own caucus in the House, including a failed effort at his removal by a fellow Trump backer, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

            Johnson made an appearance with the former president at his Mar-a-Lago club last month to announce new House legislation to require proof of citizenship for voting, echoing Trump’s baseless claims that Democrats are abetting immigrants entering the U.S. illegally to swing elections — another potential route for Republican challenges to the 2024 election.

            There isn’t any indication that noncitizens vote in significant numbers in federal elections or that they will in the future.

            And Johnson joined Trump on stage for the Republican National Committee’s gala at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, praising the presumptive presidential nominee and saying House Republicans fully expect to ride Trump’s coattails to their own re-elections to keep the majority hold on the chamber.

            Johnson has been using the pulpit of the speaker’s office in Washington to attack the U.S. judicial system, criticizing the courts as biased against the former president, claiming the case is politically motivated by Democrats and insisting Trump has done nothing wrong.

            The speaker has demurred when asked if the 2020 election was legitimate, and in a departure from the tradition of trust and adherence in U.S. election systems, Johnson and other Republicans have hedged when asked if they will accept the election results of 2024.
            ___


            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

            Comment


            • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
              I was alluding this. It’s really sad. Pathetic. Like he’s Jesus Christ himself, the true believers coming to have it be known they were there to support him.

              Comment


              • So...the Speaker of the House of Representatives...the #3 office in the land...came to condemn the work of the 3rd branch of government...our federal and state courts?!?!?!?


                WTAF!!!?????!
                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                Mark Twain

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                  So...the Speaker of the House of Representatives...the #3 office in the land...came to condemn the work of the 3rd branch of government...our federal and state courts?!?!?!?


                  WTAF!!!?????!
                  Have to demonstrate your fealty to the cult leader...
                  “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                  Comment

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