Former Judge Warns: Donald Trump Could Face Jail Time for Violating Gag Order in Stormy Daniels Case

New York, NY – Former federal judge Shira Scheindlin has warned that former President Donald Trump may face imprisonment if he continues to defy an extended gag order in the Stormy Daniels hush money case. Scheindlin, who presided over cases in the Southern District of New York, emphasized that Trump has already received a warning to refrain from commenting on the ongoing case.

The expanded gag order was recently implemented by Justice Juan Merchan, who also included his own daughter, Loren Merchan, within its scope. Merchan expressed concerns about Trump’s history of targeting family members of judges and attorneys, stating that it injects fear into those involved in the proceedings. He stressed that such behavior serves no legitimate purpose.

New York prosecutors have charged Trump with 34 felonies, accusing him of falsifying business records and concealing hush-money payments made to adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has consistently claimed that his legal troubles are politically motivated.

Scheindlin, with over 20 years of experience as a federal judge in Manhattan, suggested that if Trump were to violate the gag order, a fine would likely be imposed. Furthermore, she warned that imprisonment could be the next step if the behavior continues and is deemed contemptuous. However, she acknowledged that no judge would be eager to incarcerate Trump, as it would potentially elevate him to a martyr-like status.

Trump has been vocal on his social media platform Truth Social, criticizing both Justice Merchan and his daughter, even after the gag order was issued. An image circulated on the platform, allegedly linked to Loren Merchan, showing a mock-up of Trump behind bars. However, the account has been disconnected from Loren Merchan and has since been operated by another individual.

Trump’s legal team addressed the issue in a court filing, confirming that the account was attributed to Loren Merchan but asserting that she did not post the specific content in question. The filing was in response to a request from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who sought clarification regarding the protection of the judge’s family members from Trump’s attacks.

In his response, Merchan clarified that Trump is still allowed to criticize the court and the district attorney but cannot target their family members. The district attorney’s office argued that Trump’s rhetoric poses a significant threat to the integrity of the case and requested an expansion of the gag order to include family members of the court.

While Scheindlin acknowledged the difficulty in restraining Trump with the threat of imprisonment, she emphasized that any other defendant would face incarceration for similar behavior. She reiterated that the goal is not to imprison Trump but to make him understand that his actions are unacceptable.

This ongoing legal battle showcases the challenges posed by Trump’s public commentary and raises questions about the limits of free speech for public figures facing legal proceedings. As the case progresses, it remains to be seen how the court will address Trump’s defiance and if further consequences, such as imprisonment, will be deemed necessary to preserve the integrity of the proceedings.