Donald Trump Hush Money Trial Continues

Donald Trump Hush Money Trial Continues

On Monday, May 6, former president Donald Trump was held in contempt of court for the tenth time in his hush money trial. He was warned that he could potentially see jail time if he continues to ignore his gag order. Repeatedly,  despite court-ordered restrictions, the presidential candidate has given statements on various jurors and persons participating in the trial. As a result, the judge of the case, Juan Merchan, has fined him a $1,000 per offense, resulting in a total of $10,000 in fines, with additional warning of jail time if the offenses continue. 

Trump has made it clear that he finds the gag order unconstitutional, and by extension, he questions the legitimacy of the trial itself. “This case should be over,” Trump said, according to the Associated Press “This case should have never been brought. I thought they were finished today,” Trump stated, adamantly affirming his outrage and even claiming it to be “election interference.”

On Monday, April 15, Trump was originally held in court on trial, the first criminal trial of any president of the United States. In this trial, unlike some other court cases, federal courts have placed restrictions on the usage of cameras, so this one is not open to public viewing. Trump faces criminal charges regarding hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whom he was accused of bribing to remain quiet about their interactions, and likewise to a Playboy model. These payments came to light after a scandalous recording resurfaced during the 2016 election campaign. 

Michael Cohen, former vice president of the Trump Organization, was said to have negotiated hush money payments between Trump and Daniels in an attempted cover-up to prevent additional damage to his public reception. Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsified business records due to these hush money deals. He pleaded not guilty to his charges and denied accusations of intercourse with Daniels. 

Defending Trump is Todd Blanche, the lead lawyer of the defense. Blanche initially joined Trump’s legal team in 2023 as the former president extended his defense just prior to his arraignment. Blanche, formerly a prosecutor, worked under a variety of law firms from WilmerHale to Taft LLP prior to co-founding his own law firm, Blanche Law, in April 2023. Trump isn’t completely foreign to him, as he had previously defended Trump’s former campaign chair from charges of bank fraud. While he saw some degree of success with the case being dismissed,  the client ultimately received prison time due to other criminal cases. 

Thus far, a plethora of Trump’s former associates, employees, and others affiliated with Trump have testified against him. Most recently, Stormy Daniels herself gave her testimonial on Tuesday, May 7. She recalled a sexual encounter with him back in 2006, when she met the businessman at a golf outing. The encounter started off with casual conversation and later turned into fornication. The defense later attempted to call for a mistrial, claiming Daniels’ testimony of their meetings to be irrelevant to the case. However, the judge dismissed the request because it wasn’t raised during the testimony. Trump was seen visibly perturbed during several parts of her testimony, and at some points, he seemed to be cursing under his breath. Additionally, during the cross-examination against Daniels, the prosecution made note of her previous defamation lawsuit, which failed and resulted in thousands of dollars in owed legal fees towards Trump, specifically about $122,000. She was also drilled on her motives, with the defense driving implications that she was after money instead of justice. 

While Trump has been in court as a result of trial, his political opponent and current president Joe Biden has been garnering attention at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the Emancipation Hall, where he spoke out against upticks in antisemitism across the United States. This highlights a main concern for Trump, namely his inability to campaign and his reduced public commentary due to his court trial. 

This is not the only case that Trump will face. He has three other federal cases against him based on Mar-A-Lago classified documents, 2020 Georgia election fraud, and 2020 federal election fraud. It is highly likely that the current case is the only one that will reach trial before the election. 

As the trial continues and more evidence is provided to the jurors, whether or not Trump will or will not be charged remains to be seen. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nikhil Lewis
Nikhil Lewis, Guest Writer
Nikhil Lewis ('26) is excited to be a guest writer for The Echo. Outside of school, he enjoys participating in public forum debate, playing video games, and playing the clarinet and the piano. He likes covering topics in pop culture and entertainment.