The Latest | Trump could see more gag order sanctions as 10th day of hush money trial gets underway

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump could face more sanctions over another round of potential gag order violations when witness testimony in his hush money trial resumes Thursday morning.

Judge Juan M. Merchan will hold a hearing over four more online posts that prosecutors say violate the court’s mandate barring the former president from speaking publicly about jurors or key witnesses in the case. Merchan already found Trump in contempt of court on Tuesday, fining him $9,000 over nine online posts and threatening him with jail time if he continues violating the gag order.

It’s unclear when Merchan might rule on the new sanctions request.

Keith Davidson is expected to return to the stand after dominating Tuesday’s witness testimony, outlining how he negotiated hush money deals with the National Enquirer and Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, on behalf of former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn actor Stormy Daniels.

Prosecutors have said that Trump and others conducted a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election by purchasing and burying salacious stories that might hurt his campaign.

Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records to cover up hush money payments — including $130,000 given to Daniels by Cohen — recording them instead as legal expenses.

He has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The case is the first−ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury.


— Key players: Who’s who at Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial

— The hush money case is just one of Trump’s legal cases. See the others here

— Read the judge’s full order on Donald Trump’s gag order violations

— Trump calls judge ‘crooked’ after facing a warning of jail time if he violates a trial gag order

Here’s the latest:


Keith Davidson, a lawyer who represented former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn actor Stormy Daniels in hush money deals with Michael Cohen and the National Enquirer, returns to the witness stand on Thursday.

His testimony dominated Tuesday afternoon as he outlined the sequence of events that led up to the agreements, including his first interactions with Cohen, who was then Trump’s lawyer and personal fixer. Among other things, Davidson testified that pseudonyms were used in the deal with Daniels and that Cohen was late in delivering the agreed−upon $130,000 payment for Daniels.

He also testified that he thought Daniels’ story would be a “tornado” if it got out.

Daniels has alleged that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 while McDougal alleged a yearlong affair with him. Trump has denied both allegations.


During a one−day break in Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial, the former president lashed out at the judge overseeing the case and complained about a gag order that bars him from speaking publicly about key witnesses and others.

“There is no crime. I have a crooked judge, is a totally conflicted judge,” Trump told supporters at a Waukesha, Wisconsin, event on Wednesday.

While the gag order pertains to speaking publicly about jurors, key witnesses and others in the case, Trump remains free to criticize Merchan.



Witness testimony in Donald Trump’s criminal trial is set to resume Thursday, but only after a hearing on more potential gag order violations takes place.

Prosecutors have said that Trump, in four new online posts, again violated a court mandate barring him from speaking publicly about jurors, witnesses and others in the hush money case. Judge Juan M. Merchan already sanctioned the former president on Tuesday for nine online posts, fining him $9,000 and threatening him with jail time if he continues violating the order.

The sanctions — and the prospect of more — highlight the difficulty Trump has had adjusting to his court responsibilities as a criminal defendant while also campaigning as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

The Associated Press

Photo: AP