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Trump suggests he’d ‘sacrifice’ himself and go to jail over gag order violations

Trump suggests he'd 'sacrifice' himself and go to jail over gag order violations

Donald Trump was held in contempt Monday for violating a gag order in his hush money trial for a 10th time, and New York state Judge Juan Merchan has warned the former president that he may be jailed if he keeps it up.

But Trump suggested that he’s not deterred by the prospect of jail time. In fact, he said, he would “sacrifice” himself to protect the sanctity of his free speech rights.

“This judge has given me a gag order and said you’re going to jail if you violate it. And frankly, you know what? Our Constitution is much more important than jail,” he told reporters outside the courtroom later that day. “It’s not even close. I’ll do that sacrifice any day.”

Trump has repeatedly attempted to paint his gag order infractions as a battle to assert his right to free speech, including the freedom to attack court staff, prosecutors, the jury and witnesses, if his sanctioned public statements are the measure. When imposing the gag order, Merchan cited “not only fear on the part of the individual targeted, but also the assignment of increased security resources to investigate threats and protect the individuals” that would “risk impeding the orderly administration” of the court. (Trump has pleaded not guilty to the 34 counts of falsifying business records.)

Trump’s portrayal of himself as a political martyr is not out of character: He has long claimed, when faced with potential repercussions for his actions, to be a victim of a “weaponized” criminal justice system.

His claims of political persecution have also galvanized his supporters and made for effective fundraising. Before court was adjourned Monday, an email was sent to Trump’s supporters seeking donations for his presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee, Politico reported. The subject line read: “They want me in HANDCUFFS.”

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