Written by Ashton Snyder on
 May 22, 2024

How Trump Almost Violated Gag Order Again With Remarks On Witnesses, Facing Possible Fines

Former President Donald Trump appeared in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday amidst controversy over his recent comments on key witnesses.

Trump returned to court following his remarks about witnesses Bob Costello and another individual, Smith, and his criticism of the judge's gag order.

According to Daily Mail, Trump's court appearance came just hours after he made public remarks that risked violating a gag order imposed by the presiding judge, Juan Merchan.

Judge Sends Jury Home Amid Legal Testimony

During Tuesday's session, Judge Merchan decided to send the jury home while Bob Costello, a defense witness, continued his testimony. Costello had previously been admonished for making side comments and gestures that had drawn the judge’s ire.

Despite this, Trump publicly praised Costello, describing him as a "highly respected lawyer." He further expressed frustration over Judge Merchan's ruling that restricts the testimony of another defense witness, Brad Smith.

Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), is regarded by Trump as an "expert witness" in election law. The judge, however, limited Smith's testimony to prevent a three-way “battle of experts.”

Defense Restricted on Expert Testimony

Smith is permitted to speak on the purpose and background of the FEC and relevant election law definitions following Judge Merchan’s Monday decision.

Trump remarked on the restrictions, lamenting that Smith, whom he praised as the "best there is in election law," faced constraints in his testimony. Smith has long criticized campaign finance restrictions and authored the book “Unfree Speech, The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform.”

Trump's indictment relates to alleged campaign finance violations involving payments to Stormy Daniels, a key figure in the ongoing case. Trump's remarks risked further fine penalties, potentially up to $2,000, for breaching the gag order.

The Gag Order Controversy

Judge Merchan’s gag order has sparked tension among Trump’s legal team and supporters. The order aims to ensure a fair trial by preventing undue influence on potential witnesses and jurors through public comments.

Trump, exhibiting visible frustration, reiterated his stance on the gag order: "We're not allowed to put in the expert witness that we have - the best there is in election law, Brad Smith." He emphasized Smith's credentials and lamented the limitations imposed on his testimony.

Brad Smith, who joined the FEC in 2000 as a Republican-nominated appointee by President Bill Clinton, holds significant experience in election law. This has made Trump's team keen on having his unrestricted testimony.

Possible Legal Ramifications for Trump

The ongoing tension in Trump's court proceedings illustrates the challenges of balancing legal protocols with the defendant's rights, as his continuous public comments about witnesses could complicate his legal situation. Trump's recent court appearance and his remarks about witnesses Brad Smith and Bob Costello have brought attention to the complexities of his legal battle. The enforcement of a gag order is crucial in preserving the integrity of the judicial process, despite Trump's challenges to such restrictions through his public statements.

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About Ashton Snyder

Independent conservative news without a leftist agenda.
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