Trump may have violated the Hush money cake order when he tore up his guilty verdict

Donald Trump on Friday discussed two witnesses in the criminal case against him, complaining about his conviction, comments that could violate a judge’s harsh order against him.

Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Trump’s comments about the witnesses. Judge Juan Merson’s April order barred Trump from “making public statements or directing others about witnesses who know or reasonably know about their participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding.”

During his remarks at Trump Tower, Trump mentioned the name of Robert Costello, who testified on Trump’s behalf, and spoke at length about his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. was specified.

Donald Trump spoke at Trump Tower on Friday.Julia Nickinson / AB

“This is a very qualified lawyer. I’m not allowed to use his name right now because of the gag order, but you know he’s a sleazebag. Everybody knows that. It took me a while to find out,” Trump said, adding that Cohen described himself as a “fixer.” Pushed back. “He worked, but he wasn’t a fixer. He was a lawyer. You know they like to use the word fixer. He wasn’t a fixer. He was a lawyer at the time,” Trump said.

Trump praised Costello, a lawyer he negotiated to represent Cohen in 2018, and has become a fierce Cohen critic, calling him a “good man” who was mistreated by a judge during his testimony.

Merchan reprimanded Costello, a veteran New York defense attorney, in front of the jury for being disrespectful on the stand, including visibly and audibly reacting to the prosecutor’s objections and Merson’s rulings. “As a witness in my courtroom, if you don’t like my rulings, don’t say, ‘Jeez,'” Merchan told Costello. “You didn’t give me the side eye, and you didn’t roll your eyes.” He warned that if this behavior continued, he could be booted from the stand and his testimony stricken from the record.

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Trump also made an oblique reference to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and paid Cohen $130,000 just weeks before the 2016 election. Trump made a note about the DA calling “wonderful” people to the stand. “Actually, nothing happened. Nothing,” Trump said, appearing to refer to Daniels’ claim.

Trump referred to the judge — who was not covered by the gag order — as a “devil” and a “tyrant.”

It fined Trump a total of $10,000 for repeated violations of the order barring him from discussing witnesses, judges, court staff and private prosecutors during the trial, and warned that future violations could land him in prison.

“Mr. Trump, it’s important you understand that the last thing I want to do is put you in jail. You’re the former president of the United States and maybe the next president,” Merson said. “Trump’s continued willful violation of this court’s orders threatens the administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the law. I cannot allow it to continue,” the judge said.

It’s unclear whether the judge’s stance will soften now that the testimony is over. One of the reasons he published Cock order Concerns that Trump’s comments might influence witnesses were no longer an issue. The judge also said during the hearing that he might consider lifting the order against Cohen because of his public criticism of Trump during the trial. Cohen stopped doing so after the judge’s warning but sat for the interview MSNBC Thursday night after the verdict.

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Cohen praised the jury for finding Trump guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records. “This is accountability. This is what America needs right now,” Cohen said. Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.

Asked to respond to Trump’s comments, state court system spokesman Al Baker said, “The order is part of the court record, which is publicly available, and it speaks for itself.”

Trump made it clear in his comments on Friday that he believes the gag order is still in effect despite the conclusion of the testimony. “I’m under a gag order, a damn gag order,” he said at one point, adding, “I’m the front man for the president and I’m under a gag order.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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