NY v Trump to resume after former president threatened with jail, told trial to last at least 2 more weeks

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The unprecedented criminal trial of former President Trump resumes Tuesday morning after the 2024 presumptive Republican presidential nominee was again held in contempt of court, fined, threatened with jail time for future gag order violations, and told he’ll be required to sit in the Manhattan courtroom for at least another two weeks. 

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The charges stem from a years-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The charges are related to alleged payments made to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels about an alleged 2006 extramarital affair with Trump before the 2016 presidential election.


Former U.S. President Donald Trump watches as former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testifies during Trump's criminal trial

This courtroom sketch shows former President Trump listening as former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testifies during Trump’s criminal trial in New York City on May 6, 2024. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg must convince the jury that not only did Trump falsify the business records related to alleged hush money payments but that he did so in furtherance of another crime, conspiracy to promote or prevent election, which is a felony.

On their own, falsifying business records and conspiracy to promote or prevent election are misdemeanor charges. 

Monday’s day in court began with Judge Juan Merchan ruling on remaining alleged gag order violations, and ruling, once again, that the former president violated that rule.

Merchan imposed a gag order on Trump before the trial began, ordering that Trump cannot make or direct others to make public statements about witnesses with regard to their potential participation or about counsel in the case – other than Bragg – or about court staff, DA staff or family members of staff.

The judge on Monday fined Trump another $1,000 for a Truth Social post about the trial and said he will begin to “consider a jail sentence” for the former president should he violate the gag order again.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump watches as lawyer Keith Davidson is questioned during Trump's criminal trial

This courtroom sketch shows former President Trump watching as lawyer Keith Davidson, who represented former Playboy model Karen McDougal, is cross-examined by defense attorney Emil Bove during Trump’s criminal trial in New York City on May 2, 2024. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

“The last thing I want to consider is jail,” Merchan said. “You are [the] former president and possibly the next president.” 

“The magnitude of that decision is not lost on me,” he continued. “Your continued willful violation of the court’s order … constitutes a direct attack … and will not be allowed to continue. … It is not allowed to continue.”

Trump and his defense attorneys have argued that the former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee should not be bound by the gag order, saying it violates his First Amendment rights as well as the First Amendment rights of his supporters.


Trump has been fined a total of $10,000 for gag order violations so far.

Also on Monday, the prosecution called its 10th witness in the case: Jeff McConney, who served as senior vice president controller at the Trump Organization until his retirement last year. McConney handled tax returns for the company.

McConney testified that he was directed by then-Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg to give ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen $35,000 per month. He said they switched from making payments from Trump’s trust account to his personal account. A total of $420,000 was sent to Cohen – a number McConney said was “grossed up” for tax purposes.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump watches as former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testifies during Trump's criminal trial

This courtroom sketch shows former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testifying during former President Trump’s criminal trial in New York City on May 6, 2024. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

But McConney said Trump “did not” personally task him with carrying out any payments in 2017.

“Michael Cohen was a lawyer?” Trump defense attorney Emil Bove asked McConney during cross-examination. 

“Sure, yes,” McConney responded. 

“And payments to lawyers by the Trump Organization are legal expenses, right?” asked Bove.

“Yes,” said McConney.

“President Trump did not ask you to do any of the things you just described … correct?” Bove asked.

“He did not,” McConney replied.


Next, the prosecution called Deborah Tarasoff, a Trump Organization accounts payable supervisor, who allegedly helped arrange hush money payments to Cohen.

Tarasoff labeled the payments to Cohen as “legal expenses” or “retainer” at the time they were made.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/File)

Tarasoff said that “only Mr. Trump” could sign checks from his personal account and added that if he “didn’t want to sign a check, he didn’t sign it.” Tarasoff also testified that she did not have any decision-making authority and only followed instructions.

Meanwhile, the prosecution said Monday it would need at least two to three more weeks to make its case against the former president.

“So, we just found out the government just said that they want two to three more weeks. That means they want to keep me off the trail for two to three more weeks,” Trump said after the jury was released for the day Monday. “The judge is so happy about two to three more weeks because they all want to keep me off the campaign trail.”

He added, “That’s all this is about. This is about election interference.”

Donald Trump waves to crowd

Former President Trump waves to fans during the F1 Miami Grand Prix on May 5, 2024. (Song Haiyuan/MB Media/Getty Images)

Also after court on Monday, Trump addressed Merchan’s threat of jail time over gag order violations, telling reporters he would make the “sacrifice” of a prison sentence to defend free speech.


Speaking to reporters, Trump said they asked him “a simple question” and that he would “like to give [an answer], but I can’t talk about it because this judge is giving me a gag order and says you’ll go to jail if you violate it.”

“And frankly, you know what? Our Constitution is much more important than jail. It’s not even close. I’ll do that sacrifice any day,” Trump said.

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