Trump defiant amid threat of jail for violating gag order, declares 'Give me liberty or give me death!'

 May 9, 2024

Former President Donald Trump on Monday was hit with a 10th contempt of court charge for violating the gag order imposed by New York Judge Juan Merchan, who imposed another $1,000 fine and threatened possible jail time for any future violations.

Trump responded with defiance and dismissed the threat of jail as less important than his free speech rights, and echoed the famed anti-tyranny rallying cry of Founding Father Patrick Henry when he declared, "Give me liberty or give me death," Fox News reported.

Trump decries threat of jail for gag order violations

"It is a really bad feeling to have your Constitutional Right to Free Speech, such a big part of life in our Country, so unfairly taken from you, especially when all of the sleazebags, lowlifes, and grifters that you oppose are allowed to say absolutely anything that they want," Trump wrote in a Wednesday Truth Social post about the gag order imposed on him.

"It is hard to sit back and listen to lies and false statements be made against you knowing that if you respond, even in the most modest fashion, you are told by a Corrupt and Highly Conflicted Judge that you will be PUT IN PRISON, maybe for a long period of time," he continued.

"This Fascist mindset is all coming from D.C. It is a sophisticated hit job on Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, ME!. Judges Engoron and Kaplan, also of New York, are equally Corrupt, only in different ways," Trump said with a mention of the partisan judges who presided over his recent civil fraud and defamation trials in New York.


Judge threatens jail, Trump replies that "Constitution is much more important"

On Monday, The Hill reported that Judge Merchan held former President Trump in contempt for a 10th time for allegedly violating the gag order weeks earlier with comments about the suspected Democratic alignment of the New York City jurors -- though the judge acknowledged that the relatively minor fines for the wealthy businessman had not had the intended effect of silencing him.

As such, the judge wrote in his order, "Defendant is hereby put on notice that if appropriate and warranted, future violations of its lawful orders will be punishable by incarceration."

After Monday's proceedings concluded, Trump spoke to reporters outside the courtroom and said, "This judge has given me a gag order and said you’ll go to jail if you violate it."

"And frankly, you know what, our Constitution is much more important than jail. It’s not even close. I’ll do that sacrifice any day," he added. "But what’s happening here is a disgrace, and the appellate courts ought to get involved."

Trump appealing constitutionality of gag order

According to ABC News, former President Trump's attorneys wasted no time in filing a request with New York's intermediate appellate court for an expedited ruling on the constitutionality of the gag order itself, or permission to jump ahead to the higher Court of Appeals to press the matter.

Both that filing and a response from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg were made under seal and have not been publicly revealed. Notably, the Appellate Division had earlier rejected a request from Trump's attorneys to pause the case while his challenge against the gag order worked its way through the standard appeals process.

Outside the courthouse on Thursday, Fox News reported separately that Trump told reporters, "I just want to let you know that we've just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I'm essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that's going on in the case. And many good things are going on with the case. It shouldn't have been filed."

He also highlighted commentary from legal experts like law professor Jonathan Turley, who labeled Bragg's case a "Frankenstein case" in that prosecutors "took a dead misdemeanor, they attached it to a dead, alleged federal felony and zapped it back into life." Trump also quoted law professor Alan Dershowitz, who said of Bragg's case, "There's no evidence of any crime whatsoever. This is a sham."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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