Hush money trial: Trump fined $9,000 for his verbal attacks

The judge in the New York hush money trial against Donald Trump has imposed a fine of $9,000 (8,400 euros) on the former US president for his repeated public verbal attacks. In his decision announced on Tuesday, Judge Juan Merchan found that Trump had violated a speech ban with his comments. The judge also warned the ex-president that if he violates this ban further, he could be sent to prison.

Trump is prohibited from publicly commenting negatively on the judge, prosecutors, court staff, jurors and their families. Merchan's fine is $1,000 for each of nine violations. In his written decision, the judge also ordered the ex-president to remove seven “offensive posts” from Trump's own online service Truth Social and two posts from his campaign website by Tuesday afternoon (local time).

Merchan stated: “The defendant is hereby warned that the court will not tolerate continued willful violations of his lawful instructions and will impose a prison term if necessary and appropriate in the circumstances.”

Merchan imposed the speech ban at the end of March. The judge said at the time that Trump had made public statements that were “threatening, inflammatory and denigrating.” The judge later expanded the ban to include negative statements about his own family and those of senior prosecutor Alvin Bragg.

The Republican Trump, who wants to run again in the presidential election in November, regularly describes himself as an innocent victim of a politically motivated justice system. Judge Merchan's daughter fiercely attacked Trump because she works for a consulting firm with ties to President Joe Biden's Democratic Party.

The case in New York revolves around the cover-up of a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Trump is accused of concealing the payment by falsifying business documents. This is the first criminal trial in history against a former US president.

The 77-year-old right-wing populist is criminally charged in three other cases. Two cases involve his massive attempts to subsequently overturn his election defeat against Biden in 2020, and another case involves his taking secret government documents to his private estate in the state of Florida.