Trump Violated Gag Order Seven Times Since Monday, Prosecutors Allege

trump gag order

Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial is back in session, and Manhattan prosecutors are accusing the former president of violating a court gag order at least seven times since the trial began on Monday. 

On Monday, prosecutors requested that Trump be punished for allegedly violating a gag order barring him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, and jurors involved in the case. Judge Juan Merchan scheduled a hearing on the matter next week. On Thursday, the prosecution requested that additional alleged violations of the gag order be reviewed in the hearing. 

The prosecutors pointed to several public statements and social media posts the former president has made over the last several days. “It’s ridiculous, it has to stop,” one prosecutor said.

Trump’s attorneys countered that the social media posts in question “do not establish any willful violations,” and claimed that reposts of other people’s statements do not constitute violations.  

But some of Trump’s posts have been fairly egregious. According to Politico, state attorneys pointed to the former president’s invocation of right-wing conspiracies about the jury selection process as the “most disturbing” example. In a Wednesday Truth Social post, Trump quoted Fox News host Jesse Watters, who claimed: “They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump jury.” 

On Monday, Merchan warned Trump that he would be held to the same standards as other defendants, and could face penalties or imprisonment if he was overly disruptive during the trial or failed to appear in court as required. 

While the former president’s behavior out of court is already becoming an issue in the trial, his behavior in court isn’t helping either. On Thursday, Trump was spotted using his cell phone in the courtroom — a clear violation of Merchan’s rules. The former president has also reportedly dozed off or fallen asleep at the defense table on every day of the trial so far. 

On Tuesday, Merchan reprimanded Trump and his team after he was heard muttering commentary during the questioning of potential jurors. “I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. I want to make that crystal clear. Take a minute with your client,” Merhcan told Trump’s attorneys. 


The potential of harassment against jurors is already having an effect on the selection process. On Thursday one juror who had been selected for the trial requested to be excused, citing concerns about the amount of identifying details about her being reported in the press and the potential of being identified publicly. “Yesterday, alone, I had friends, colleagues and family push things to my phone regarding questioning my identity as a juror,” the juror said. 

Merchan granted the request and implored reporters to use “common sense” when writing about jurors: “There was really no need to mention that one of the jurors had an Irish accent,” he said, referencing reporting on one of the selected jurors. 

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