Judge Continues to Associate Trump with Potential Intimidation

Donald Trump. Associated Press Finance

Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial appears to be increasingly shadowed by the prospect of imprisonment, owing not only to his repeated breaches of the gag order but also to Justice Juan Merchan’s references to three instances that hint at possible witness or juror intimidation by Trump.

While some experts suggest that Trump’s actions are sufficiently ambiguous to give Merchan pause in taking punitive measures, the judge seems to be growing impatient with Trump’s behavior overall.

The latest incident unfolded during the testimony of adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, which was marked by sensational details. In a somewhat overlooked moment, the judge highlighted the potential consequences of intimidation, noting how Daniels appeared visibly apprehensive of Trump at one juncture.

According to a report by The Washington Post, Merchan rebuked Trump’s legal team for what he deemed as inappropriate cursing and gestures by the former president during Daniels’s testimony. Merchan, who had already found Trump in contempt of court for breaching the gag order ten times, remarked, “He is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually, and that’s contemptuous. It has the potential to intimidate the witness, and the jury can see that.”

This incident followed closely on the heels of Merchan’s written admonishment regarding Trump’s tenth breach of the gag order. Merchan highlighted how Trump’s public claim that the jury was predominantly comprised of Democrats risked influencing the jury’s impartiality and fostering fear among them and their families.

The use of “again” in Merchan’s statement possibly alludes not only to Trump’s previous violations of the gag order but also to an earlier incident during jury selection when Merchan reprimanded Trump, addressing his lawyer, Todd Blanche.

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