Trump takes down social media posts that violated gag order in hush-money trial

Donald Trump in court. Credit: AP

Donald Trump has been held in contempt of court and fined $9,000 (£7,190) for repeatedly violating a gag order against him.

The former president had been barred from making public statements about witnesses, jurors and others connected to his ongoing New York hush-money case.

A judge has now warned Trump - who has always maintained that he was exercising his right to freedom of speech - that he could face jail if he does it again.

Prosecutors had alleged that he had made 10 such violations, however the judge found just nine.

By Friday afternoon, Trump removed the social media posts, avoiding the fine.

The ruling came amid the second week of testimony in the historic case, which centres around alleged hush money payments the Trump organisation made to silence Stormy Daniels, an adult film star with whom he allegedly had an affair, and former playboy bunny Karen McDougal.

The payments were allegedly covered up in the company accounts, disguised as payments to his lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.

Cohen has admitted the payments were not for his services but were reimbursement for paying off the two women. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, the court resumed with Gary Farro, a banker who helped Cohen open accounts.

Jury members have so far have heard from two other witnesses.

Trump’s former longtime executive assistant, Rhona Graff, who recalled once seeing Daniels at Trump's office suite in Trump Tower and figured the performer was a potential contestant for one of Trump’s “Apprentice”-brand shows.

And, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, who laid out how he agreed to serve as the Trump campaign's “eyes and ears” by helping to squash unflattering rumors about Trump and women.

There have been a number of other alleged hush-money payments have have been made on behalf of Trump that have been heard in court.

All of which he claims are false.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…