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Judge Scolds Trump During Hush Money Trial For Use of Profanity

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


During his Manhattan hush money trial on Tuesday, Judge Juan Merchan scolded former President Donald Trump for audibly swearing while pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels testified about their alleged sexual encounter.

According to the Washington Post, during a break on Tuesday, Merchan instructed Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, to tell the former president to refrain from making audible and visible reactions to Daniels’s testimony.

“I understand that your client is upset at this point,” Merchan said on Tuesday. “But he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually, and that’s contemptuous. It has the potential to intimidate the witness, and the jury can see that.”

“I am speaking to you here at the bench because I don’t want to embarrass him,” he added. “You need to speak to him. I won’t tolerate that.” At that, Blanche told the judge he would speak to his client.

The Washington Examiner added:

The 13th day in court featured detailed descriptions of Daniels and Trump’s alleged encounter in 2006, with the actress testifying as part of the hush money trial. The information offered up by Daniels was so detailed that Blanche requested a mistrial by alleging her testimony was “extraordinarily prejudicial.”

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Merchan denied the motion for mistrial but did say he agreed that there are “some things better left unsaid.”

A legal analyst for MSNBC broke down adult film star Stormy Daniels’ testimony during former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial on Tuesday while speculating what impact it may have had on the jury.

Legal analyst Harry Litman, reporting from the Manhattan courtroom, noted that Daniels might have caused some confusion among the jury with her “wild” testimony.

After the prosecution questioned Daniels in court before a lunch break, Litman, a former U.S. attorney, spoke with MSNBC about his observations. He suggested that Daniels’ testimony, which he described as perhaps too “colorful,” might have elicited mixed reactions from the jury.

“There was a lot to see as far as the jury. We’re talking about a very, very colorful witness who detailed kinds of events and just efforts and ways of being that I think for the jury were fairly foreign. She spoke very quickly, nervously, she told a lot of jokes, but not all of them landed,” he said.

During her testimony, Judge Juan Merchan agreed with several objections from Trump’s defense team, which included overly detailed descriptions of their encounters, such as the clothing Trump wore and mentions of products like Old Spice.

The judge said at one point that Daniels was providing “unnecessary” details during her testimony, including a description of a sexual position she claimed she and Trump were in. Litman noted that he had never seen Merchan as “irritated” as he was by the level of detail in the testimony. Previously, the judge had to warn Trump of possible jail time after he was found in criminal contempt for the tenth time for violating a gag order.

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Litman characterized the testimony as “wild” and “hyper-colorful.” Daniels recounted a moment when she humorously asked Trump if Hugh Hefner was aware that he had taken his pajamas after Trump allegedly greeted her at a hotel suite door dressed in “silk or satin” pajamas. According to Daniels, Trump “politely” changed his attire at her request.

Litman also noted that during Daniels’ testimony, the jury’s attention was primarily focused on her, not the former president.

Trump, he said, had a “general impassiveness” as the alleged details were being revealed. “My general feeling is, like, wow, this is a colorful, maybe hyper-colorful witness,” Litman added.

Trump signaled this week that he is willing to be locked up for violating Merchan’s restrictive gag order in remarks to reporters.

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