Donald Trump could be locked up before any of his 91 criminal indictments are tried in court. And don’t take our word for it. Listen to some revered attorneys, such as one of Trump’s own ex-White House lawyers, and a former U.S. attorney general.
Judge Tanya Chutkan, who’s overseeing the case in which Trump stands accused of trying to overturn the 2020 election, reimposed a gag order limiting what the pugilistic defendant can say about witnesses and prosecutors in the case. Chutkan put the gag order on hold October 20 while Trump’s team pursued an appeal.
The disgraced ex-president, of course, has a long history of disparaging prosecutors and witnesses attached to his myriad of legal entanglements. Special Counsel Jack Smith argued the gag order needed to be reinstated, because while it was on hold, Trump attacked him three times by name… in less than 10 days.
Trump also made comments on two occasions about his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who was granted immunity to testify under oath.
Appearing on CNN Thursday, Ty Cobb, who worked as a Trump White House special counsel, said he doubts fines will stop the ex-POTUS from disparaging people involved in the case.
He may have to be sent to jail.
“I think she’ll come in with a much heavier penalty, and ultimately I think he’ll spend a night or weekend in jail. I think it’s gonna take that to stop him,” he said.
We know, we know: we’ve been fed delicious speculation about Trump winding up behind bars for eight years. There is even doubt about whether Trump would serve jail time if he’s found guilty in his four criminal cases, given the security concerns attached to imprisoning a former president (home confinement is more likely, some experts say).
But as we’ve heard before, we are in unprecedented times. Trump is simultaneously running for president and serving as a defendant in a federal espionage case and criminal case about trying to overthrow an election… just to name two!
History shows he’s not going to stop his blatant judicial misconduct based on warnings alone. So far, he’s been fined $15,000 for disparaging a law clerk working on his $250 million fraud trial.
“Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possibly imprisoning him,” said Judge Arthur Engoron.
In a recent interview, George Conway, the now-ex-husband of Kellyanne Conway, said Trump “could go to jail” if he keeps publicly smearing court officials.
“The fines can get bigger and bigger,” he said. “One method that has been used by courts in the past to enforce criminal contempt sanctions or civil contempt sanctions is to keep increasing the fines geometrically. You know, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000. Justice Engoron could keep ramping those figures up.”
Engoron has already found Trump liable for fraud in the case, and could force the one-term, twice-impeached, quadruply-indicted ex-president to auction off his New York properties.
For Trump, that’s, like, the worst thing that could ever happen.
Well, besides going to jail.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Trump would probably be facing jail time for his near-constant violations of gag orders, if he were an average person.
What about that two-tiered justice system, again?
“Would a judge actually do that, which would happen to a normal person and put somebody in jail for violating a gag order? I suspect that’s not likely to happen with this defendant, but any other defendant would probably be facing [jail time],” he said.
Meanwhile, when Trump isn’t melting down about his court cases, he’s committing gaffe after gaffe.
Consider, for instance, this moment when Donald Trump said “Sioux Falls” multiple times despite being in Sioux City. It got so bad someone had to step onto the stage to correct Trump before he then corrected himself. Not great. It’s a pattern…pic.twitter.com/JLguaPW7ih
— Victor Shi (@Victorshi2020) October 29, 2023
Despite all of these nadirs, Trump is still blowing out the Republican presidential field. Great party!