Trials: Denigration of witnesses: Trump must pay a fine

Former US President Trump is banned from making comments about members of the hush money trial against him. He made some anyway and now has to pay. There is also talk of tougher measures.

In the trial against Donald Trump in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress, the former US President has to pay an administrative fine of 9,000 dollars (around 8,400 euros). Judge Juan Merchan responded on Tuesday in New York to Trump's repeated comments about those involved in the trial. He is actually not allowed to do this because of a corresponding news ban. Several US media reported unanimously.

The week before, prosecutor Christopher Conroy listed a number of news blocking violations that Trump committed through his account on the Truth Social platform or on his campaign website. There he attacked, among others, the likely trial witnesses Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen. “Trump knows exactly what he is allowed to do and what he is not allowed to do, and he does it anyway,” said Conroy and applied for the fine. “We are not yet seeking a prison sentence,” although Trump “seems to be striving for it.”

Trump's lawyer Todd Blanche, however, presented his client's statements as reactions to political attacks: “It is allowed to react to political attacks.” When the judge repeatedly asked what attacks Trump had responded to there, Blanche did not give a specific statement, which made Judge Merchan become impatient: “We are losing all credibility here in court.”

Charge: $130,000 in hush money

The indictment accuses Trump of wanting to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election by paying $130,000 in hush money to sex actress Daniels. Although the transaction itself was not illegal, when returning the money to his lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump falsified business documents in order to conceal their actual purpose.

This is the first criminal trial against an ex-president in US history. Trump faces several years in prison, which could also be suspended, or a fine. The case could influence the US election campaign. Trump wants to be re-elected president in November. He had pleaded not guilty.

Trump is known for aggressive behavior, including in court proceedings. In the run-up to the trial, he repeatedly portrayed Judge Merchan and District Attorney Alvin Bragg, among others, as corrupt and biased. Merchan therefore blocked comments about prosecutors, witnesses and jurors and their relatives.