Trump fined $9,000 for breaching gag order in New York hush-money trial

Trial resumes in case involving former president's alleged 2016 scheme to cover up an affair

Former US president Donald Trump appears in a Manhattan criminal courtroom in New York. Reuters / Bloomberg
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The judge overseeing Donald Trump's criminal hush-money trial fined the former US president $9,000 on Tuesday for statements that he found had breached a gag order in the case.

Justice Juan Merchan's order came as Mr Trump's trial was due to resume in New York with evidence from a banker familiar with accounts involved in the former president's alleged scheme to influence the 2016 election by covering up an affair.

Mr Trump, the presumed Republican candidate in this year's presidential election, is charged with falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter she said she had with Mr Trump in 2006.

The former president has pleaded not guilty and denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

The historic criminal trial is the first of a former US president and began on April 22.

About two dozen Trump supporters rallied outside the courthouse on Tuesday morning, chanting his name and waving banners that read “Trump 24".

A local Republican organisation had called for supporters to turn out after Mr Trump complained that few people were protesting against the trial.

Banker Garry Farro, who is not accused of wrongdoing, testified on Friday about financial records filed by Mr Trump's one-time lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who prosecutors say helped to carry out the scheme.

At the end of last week, jurors saw the paper trail for a shell company and corresponding account Mr Cohen had opened to pay Karen McDougal, a model and actress who claimed to have had an affair with Mr Trump, and later a second account intended to pay Daniels, CNN reported.

Keith Davidson, the former lawyer for Daniels and McDougal, then took the stand. He walked the jury through the negotiations that led to Daniels's tabloid deal and hush-money payment, which is at the centre of the case against Mr Trump.

Mr Trump is required to attend every day of the trial and has said he could instead be campaigning ahead of his rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election.

The criminal case is one of four pending against Mr Trump but could be the only one to go to trial and result in a verdict before the election.

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Updated: May 01, 2024, 3:49 AM