The judge considers jail for Trump due to limited fines.

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The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money case on Tuesday held the former president in criminal contempt over a series of posts on Truth Social that he said violated a gag order barring any attacks on jurors and witnesses and warned Trump he could be jailed for further violations.

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Judge Juan Merchan ruled Trump in contempt for nine violations of his gag order, with a fine of $1,000 for each instance. He warned in the decision that he would not tolerate further violations of the order and said “if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances,” he would impose “an incarceratory punishment” on the former president.

The judge explained that because the fines, which are limited by state law, were relatively little in comparison to Trump’s wealth, they might be unlikely to deter the former president from abiding by the court’s order. Merchan said that while he would prefer to impose commensurately larger fines, he instead had to consider “whether in some instances, jail may be a necessary punishment.”

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