Judge Merchan tells jury not to consider whether a conviction would send Trump to jail

"That was not permitted and you must not consider it. If the defendant is found guilty, sentencing will be my decision."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

Judge Juan Merchan had explicit instructions for the jury when they reentered his courtroom on Tuesday to hear closing arguments from the prosecution. He told them to disregard the ask from Trump's attorney, Todd Blanche, to not send the former president to jail. Blanche made the request in his closing remarks.  

Per Inner City Press who has been live tweeting from the courtroom, Merchan said, "During the defense summation you heard Mr. Blanche ask you not to send the defendant to prison. That was not permitted, and you must not consider it. If the defendant is found guilty, sentencing will be my decision." 

Yet Merchan has repeatedly threatened the former president with jail time for violation of gag orders. On many occasions, upon finding Trump guilty of those violations, Merchan has imposed fines and said that Trump was risking jail by persisting in sharing articles written by news outlets and commentators that expressed support for Trump's innocence and said that Merchan was a Democrat operative presiding over a witch hunt. 

"Cohen lied to each of you," Inner City Press quoted Blanche as saying during his closing remarks, "Repeatedly. You cannot send someone to prison based— " 

At that point the prosecutor reportedly objected, an objection which Merchan sustained. 

"Thank you, jurors," Blanche was quoted as saying, "You have been listening. This isn't a referendum on President Trump." 

In response, Merchan said "Your comment about President Trump facing jail was outrageous. I will give a curative instruction." 

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