How Trump Risked Violating the Silence Order AGAIN by Commenting on Two Witnesses… and Now Faces Up to $2,000 in Fines

Former President Trump’s appearance Tuesday in Manhattan criminal court comes hours after he made comments that risked once again violating a judge’s gag order.

He spoke after Judge Juan Merchan sent the jury home amid continued testimony from defense attorney Bob Costello, again condemning the gag order, which leaves him facing $1,000 per violation and even a prison sentence if held for contempt.

Trump called Costello a “highly respected attorney” who expressed good faith in the defense witness. His praise came after the judge admonished Costello for giving him the “side eye” and muttering “jeeze” during his testimony on Monday.

The former president also complained about Merchan’s ruling limiting the areas that former Election Commission Chairman Brad Smith can address as an “expert witness” for the defense.

That came after lawyers were confronted with the limits of what Smith could speak to.

After the court hearing on Monday, Trump commented on two witnesses: lawyer Bob Costello and potential expert witness Brad Smith

The silence order prohibits Trump from making public statements or directing others to make statements about potential witnesses and jurors in the case.

β€œWe can’t put it in the expert witness we have – the best there is in election law, Brad Smith,” Trump complained Monday in comments on Manhattan Criminal Court reports.

‘He has considered the Rolls Royce, otherwise we will take him back to an American car, Cadillac. But the best there is,” Trump said.

β€œHe can’t testify – he’s not allowed to testify. And you saw what happened today with a highly respected attorney, Bob Costello. Wow. I’ve never seen anything like it. Highly respected. But remember this: we cannot call in an expert witness. You are not allowed to present an expert witness. Nobody’s ever heard that before.

Trump called Smith the “number one person, both sides will admit it… On a very complex law, but we did nothing wrong, I’ll tell you that right now.”

Smith will testify under a series of restrictions following Merchan’s decision Monday.

Highly respected: Trump praised attorney Bob Costello Monday night

Highly respected: Trump praised attorney Bob Costello Monday night

Trump's defense called Costello days after he delivered fiery testimony before Congress, accusing Michael Cohen of lying on the stand

Trump’s defense called Costello days after he delivered fiery testimony before Congress, accusing Michael Cohen of lying on the stand

Merchan had taken the weekend to consider arguments from lawyers on both sides, but opted to limit what the former FEC chairman could talk about to avoid a “battle of experts” where prosecutors would bring their own witnesses . The judge would also provide jury instructions on matters related to campaign finance law.

The judge ruled that Smith can testify about the purpose and background of FEC, and relevant election law definitions. β€œAn expert is not allowed to present and interpret the law,” Merchan said.

Smith was a Bill Clinton nominee whose name was floated by Republicans and joined the committee in 2000.

He has advocated against campaign finance restrictions and wrote a book titled Unfree Speech, The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform. He advocated for the right of corporations to spend money on federal elections. The Supreme Court cited this in its Citizens United ruling.

The charges against Trump were based on an alleged campaign finance violation to charge the former president with felony falsification of company records involving the Stormy Daniels payments.