Trump fined $8,000 for violating gag order in New York hush money trial

Donald Trump

Former US President Donald Trump looks on in the courtroom, during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, in New York City, on April 30, 2024. PHOTO | AFP

Photo credit: Justin Lane | Reuters

The judge overseeing Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial fined the former US president $8,000 on Tuesday for statements that he found violated a gag order in the case.

Justice Juan Merchan's order came as Trump's trial was due to resume in New York with testimony from a banker familiar with accounts involved in the former US president's alleged scheme to influence the 2016 election by covering up a sex scandal.

Trump, the Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election, is charged with falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump in 2006.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied having sex with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

The historic criminal trial is the first of a former US president and began on April 22.

Roughly two dozen Trump supporters rallied outside the courthouse on Tuesday morning, chanting his name and waving banners that read "TRUMP 24". A local Republican organization had called for supporters to turn out after Trump complained that few people were protesting the trial.

Banker Garry Farro, who is not accused of wrongdoing, testified on Friday about financial records filed by Trump's onetime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who prosecutors say helped carry out the scheme.

Trump is required to attend the trial and has said he could instead be campaigning ahead of his rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election.

The criminal case is one of four pending against Trump, but could be the only one to go to trial and result in a verdict before the election.