“Thuggish behavior”: Experts warn Trump “tempting fate” by attacking judge’s daughter after warning

Former President Donald Trump attacked the family of the judge overseeing his Manhattan prosecution just hours after he was admonished in court for his rhetoric.

Trump, who pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records on Tuesday, has repeatedly attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, most recently targeting Merchan’s daughter over reports that she worked on Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign.

Prosecutors in court cited Trump’s repeated attacks and asked Merchan to issue an order banning the former president from discussing the case.

“His public statements have, among other things, threatened potential death and destruction…and world war three,” prosecutor Christopher Conroy told the judge, according to a transcript. “We have significant concern about the potential danger this kind of rhetoric poses to our city, to potential jurors and witnesses, and to the judicial process,” he added.

Merchan said the court would not issue a “gag order” against Trump, citing his First Amendment rights as a candidate for president, but urged “counsel on both sides” to speak to their clients and witnesses to tone down the rhetoric.

 “Please refrain from making comments or engaging in conduct that has the potential to incite violence, create civil unrest, or jeopardize the safety or well-being of any individuals,” he said. “Also, please do not engage in words or conduct which jeopardizes the rule of law, particularly as it applies to these proceedings in this courtroom.”

Merchan added that this was a request and not an order.

“But now that I have made the request, if I were to be handed something like this again in the future, I have to take a closer look at it,” Merchan said.

It didn’t take long before Trump was back on the attack, lashing out at Bragg and his family and Merchan and his family during a rambling speech at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night following his arraignment.

“I have a Trump-hating judge, with a Trump-hating wife and family, whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris and now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign and a lot of it,” Trump declared.

MSNBC legal analyst Katie Phang warned that Trump was “tempting fate” by making the comments after the judge’s admonishment.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who served on special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, called Trump’s comments “appalling.”

“You do not have this behavior from a mob boss. There is a rule in organized crime. You do not do this with respect to prosecutors. You don’t do this with respect to the judge. You certainly don’t go after their families. It’s bad business to do that,” he told MSNBC, adding that it is “really just so despicable to think that you would do that. There’s no level to which he is not stooping.”

Trump also called Merchan’s court a “kangaroo court” over his daughter’s previous job in a rant on Truth Social. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. shared an article from Breitbart showing a photo of Merchan’s daughter to claim that the judge had a conflict in the case.

“That’s not a conflict for the judge & exposing his family to risk by posting photos like this, completely unacceptable,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance shot back.

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Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti called the attack a “new low.”

“Tweeting a picture of the daughter of the judge in your father’s trial to fire up your rabid followers serves one purpose and one purpose only: intimidation,” warned watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “If Don Jr. thinks what he puts on Truth Social isn’t going to make its way to the judge, well, he may want to consult with an attorney.”

Trump attorney Joe Tacopina denied that Trump attacked the judge.

“It is not an attack on the judge or certainly his family,” he told NBC News. “No one is suggesting anything should happen to the judge or his family.”

But former assistant Manhattan District Attorney Dan Horowitz said the transcript made it evident that the judge “was waiting for the prosecutors to bring up the defendant’s thuggish behavior.”

“There are judges, including Judge Juan Merchan, who’s been a judge for a very long time. And we’re talking Manhattan here, right?” he told MSNBC. “They’ve seen it all. It’s criminal court, just like the television program, crazy stuff happens in Manhattan. So they have seen when the occasional defendant acts out. Those defendants learn what will happen. There could be gag orders. There could be — I’m not saying this is going to happen here — but defendants who act out physically, they can be restrained physically. And ultimately, they can be barred from the courtroom that’s extraordinary, but they can be barred from participating in their trial.”

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