Donald Trump facing criminal charges in an actual courtroom is something that many legal and political experts believed would never actually happen. Despite the fact that many have accused the former president of shady business and legal dealings for decades, this year is the first time that Trump will see the inside of a courtroom with real potential consequences on the line. 

Multiple Issues For Trump

Since leaving the White House after his devastating loss in 2020, Trump has been dogged with political issue after political issue. He was impeached for a second time by the House of Representatives, then acquitted by the Senate. He was investigated by the House for his involvement in January 6, but nothing ever came of the House investigation. 

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These political issues were, of course, merely the precursor to the legal issues that Trump was set to endure. Trump is no stranger to civil suits, of course, and has paid out millions of dollars in damages in cases where he was found liable for causing harm to other individuals and companies. Criminal charges are new for him, though. 

Setting Records Left and Right

And indeed, Trump has set another historical record. He is the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges of any kind, let alone a felony. Let alone 88 felonies, which have been spread across four different criminal cases in four different jurisdictions. 

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

Of course, the former president has called for all of these investigations into him and his activities to be called off. He has claimed that the charges are all a political persecution, a “witch hunt,” if you will, and has claimed that there has never been a former president in history who has suffered as much as he has. 

Donald Trump’s Criminal Cases

Three of the cases that have been brought against Trump are state cases, and one is a federal case based out of Washington, D.C. The federal case is about Trump’s involvement in the 2020 election; the Georgia case is a RICO racketeering investigation into Trump and 18 defendants for their attempts to overturn the 2020 Georgia election. 

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

The Florida case is about classified documents that were discovered in Donald Trump’s possession at his property at Mar-A-Lago, in contradiction with the rules and requirements of the Presidential Records Act. And, finally, the case out of New York centers around alleged hush money payments that Donald Trump made to adult film actress, Stormy Daniels. 

Working to Delay the Trials

Donald Trump has been working incredibly hard with his legal team on his favorite legal tactic: delaying. In three of the four cases, his efforts to delay discovery and arraignments and all other aspects of a criminal trial have, thus far, been working like a charm. 

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

And Trump used many of those same tactics in the New York case, as well. He attempted to have the case thrown out due to reasons of political persecution, he tried to have the judge recused from the case, he tried to have the case delayed to afford more time for discovery. Trump and his legal team have tried it all. 

On Trial in New York

None of these tactics have worked, though, and Trump is now officially on trial in a case that airs a significant amount of dirty laundry from the former president’s past. 

Source: Yuki Iwamura

The New York Hush money case, simply, is a case that alleges that Donald Trump, through his then-attorney Michael Cohen, paid Stormy Daniels off to keep quiet about an alleged affair that she claims they had in 2006. This allegedly happened during his first run for president in 2016, which Trump ultimately won. 

Belligerent as Always

Trump has claimed that he never met Stormy Daniels at all, and that the claims that the two of them had an affair are entirely false. None of these statements have stopped the court proceedings from continuing, though, and Trump has finally had to face the music in court in New York. 

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Trump has been so loud and belligerent regarding this case – and all of his other cases as well – that Judge Juan Merchan, the presiding judge in the hush money case, has had to institute a gag order in order to keep Trump from threatening anyone in such a way that someone gets hurt. 

Trump and Gag Orders

This is not the only gag order that Trump had to endure in his legal battles, and not even in New York. In a civil defamation case that took place over the last six months, Trump ran afoul a gag order multiple times through his posts on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Source: Wikimedia/Michael Vadon

Trump was ultimately fined for each of the violations of the gag order in that case, but nothing further came of it. Gag orders are common rules in trials that involve high profile people such as Trump, and it goes double for cases with politicians whose followers have proven to be less than stable and perfectly willing to threaten other people. 

Prevented from Posting on Truth Social

In this case, Trump was initially slapped with the gag order for his social media posts attacking the prosecutors, jurors, and more. The gag order said that Trump was unable to talk about any of these individuals, unless he wanted to run afoul of legal consequences for his behavior. 

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The gag order was later expanded to include Judge Merchan, as well as his family. This came after a series of posts on Truth Social where Trump accused Merchan of being biased, called for him to recuse himself, and again claimed political persecution, as Merchan’s daughter works for a legal firm that serves liberal organizations, which Trump claims is a significant conflict of interest. 

Calling for the Order to be Lifted

Since the imposition of the gag order, Trump has called for the order to be lifted multiple times. Recently, writing on Truth Social, he called the order “unprecedented and unconstitutional.”

Source: Paul Hakimata

This is after Judge Merchan scheduled a hearing last Tuesday over claims that Trump’s social media posts linking to articles that attacked Michael Cohen, or claims that “undercover liberal activists” are lying to the judge to get on the jury were a violation of the gag order. 

Requesting a Fine

Prosecutors have asked Judge Merchan to fine Trump $10,000 in total, for 10 different violations of the gag order. The judge held off on making a ruling during the Tuesday hearing, though. 

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Trump couldn’t help himself, though. He posted on Truth Social, yet again. “45th President Donald J. Trump is again the Republican Nominee for President of the United States, and is currently dominating in the Polls,” he wrote. 

A Statement From Trump

“However, he is being inundated by the Media with questions because of this Rigged Biden Trial, which President Trump is not allowed to comment on, or answer, because of Judge Juan Merchan’s UNPRECEDENTED AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL Gag Order.”

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

“His opponents have unlimited rights to question, but he has no right to respond. There has never been a situation like this in our Country’s History, a Candidate that is not allowed to answer questions. Even Crooked Joe Biden is talking about the Sham Case, and others inspired by his Administration.”

Trump Concluding

“We request that Judge Merchan immediately LIFT THE GAG ORDER, so that President Trump is able to freely state his views, feelings, and policies. He is asking for his Constitutional Right to Free Speech. If it is not granted, this again becomes a Rigged Election!”

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Trump’s team did not respond right away when reached out to for comment on the former president’s statements on social media. And some legal analysts believe that if Merchan is not going to imprison or fine the former president for his repeated violations of the gag order, he should at least impose a monitor for the former president’s social media posts to ensure compliance with the gag order. 

Looking to the Future

Trump is unlikely to comply with this gag order unless drastic measures are taken, the way that he has violated gag orders in the past, and will likely continue to do in the future. 

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Likewise, it seems unlikely that Judge Merchan is going to suddenly lift the gag order simply because Trump refuses to abide by it. The former President is likely going to have to learn to hold his tongue, or run afoul of contempt of court, and possibly even imprisonment.