Trump faces contempt motion after social media posts about New York trial

<span>Donald Trump talks with reporters as he arrives for the start of the second day of his trial in Manhattan </span><span>Photograph: Justin Lane/Reuters</span>
Donald Trump talks with reporters as he arrives for the start of the second day of his trial in Manhattan Photograph: Justin Lane/Reuters

About an hour after day one of Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan closed, the former president published the first of what would be a series of posts on Truth Social about his disdain for the trial, specifically his required attendance.

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, filed a motion in papers made public on Tuesday to hold Trump in contempt of court for violating a partial gag order in the case.

Prosecutors said that Trump had already violated his gag order three times, posting about the witnesses Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels on social media. They asked the judge to fine Trump $3,000 for the violation. Merchan said he will hold a hearing on the alleged violations on 23 April.

Related: Trump’s historic criminal trial enters second day as jury selection continues

In his posts, Trump blasted Judge Juan Merchan for requiring Trump to attend the trial every day it is in session. The trial, centered on hush-money payments Trump funneled to the adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election, is expected to last at least six weeks. Daniels said she and Trump had a brief affair in 2006.

Attending the trial, Trump said, would mean he will have to miss the high school graduation of his son, Barron Trump.

“Who will explain for me, to my wonderful son, Barron, who is a GREAT Student at a fantastic School, that his Dad will likely not be allowed to attend his Graduation Ceremony, something that we have been talking about for years,” Trump wrote on Monday afternoon after court ended for the day. Trump called Merchan a “Conflicted and Corrupt New York State Judge” overseeing “a bogus ‘Biden Case’”.

Trump said that he would also be unable to attend the US supreme court hearing arguments for his presidential immunity claims over the January 6 insurrection.

“This shows such great disdain and disrespect for our Nation’s Highest Court, especially for a topic so important as Presidential Immunity, without which our country would never be the same!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Though Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, it only extends to prosecutors other than Bragg, witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Trump is free to criticize Merchan himself, though it will probably not help Trump win the favor over the judge, who will decide on Trump’s sentence if the jury finds him guilty.

Before the trial, Merchan extended the gag order to cover his family and Bragg’s family after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns. Trump and his lawyers have twice tried to get Merchan recused from the case, to no avail.

Trump’s lawyers in court argued that the posts were not covered by the gag order as Trump was responding to allegations the witnesses made. In another post on Tuesday morning, Trump called Merchan a “Trump Hating Judge” who “won’t let me respond to people that are on TV lying and spewing hate all day long.

“He is running rough shod over my lawyers and legal team,” Trump wrote. “I want to speak, or at least be able to respond. Election Interference! RIGGED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRIAL! Take off the Gag Order!!!”

Jury selection continues on Tuesday and could take up much of the trial’s first week.

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