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Judge admonished Trump for 'cursing audibly' while Stormy Daniels testified about sexual encounter

The exchange between Judge Juan Merchan and attorney Todd Blanche took place during a sidebar in which the judge said Trump's cursing had the potential to intimidate the witness, according to a court transcript.
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The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York City warned the former president's lawyer Tuesday that he would not tolerate his client’s “cursing audibly” during Stormy Daniels' testimony, saying it could be intimidating to the witness.

The exchange between state Judge Juan Merchan and Trump attorney Todd Blanche occurred during a sidebar, according to the official court transcript that was released Tuesday evening.

It added to an already surreal day in court in which Daniels, an adult film actor, detailed what she said was a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

Merchan told Blanche, “I understand that your client is upset at this point, but he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually and that’s contemptuous,” according to the transcript.

“It has the potential to intimidate the witness and the jury can see that,” he added.

Blanche responded that he would talk to Trump, the transcript showed.

Merchan, referring to their discussion, which was out of earshot from the rest of the courtroom, also told Blanche, “I am speaking to you here at the bench because I don’t want to embarrass him.”

Merchan continued: “You need to speak to him. I won’t tolerate that.”

Image: politics political politician hush money trial court sketch
Judge Juan Merchan presides over proceedings as Stormy Daniels, far right, answers questions on direct examination by Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger in Manhattan criminal court as former President Donald Trump and defense attorney Todd Blanche look on Tuesday.Elizabeth Williams / AP

Blanche again told Merchan that he would talk to Trump before Merchan provided more examples of Trump's actions in the courtroom.

“One time I noticed when Ms. Daniels was testifying about rolling up the magazine, and presumably smacking your client, and after that point he shook his head and he looked down. And later, I think he was looking at you, Mr. Blanche, later when were talking about The Apprentice, at that point he again uttered a vulgarity and looked at you this time. Please talk to him at the break, Mr. Blanche,” Merchan said, according to the transcript.

“Yes, I will,” Blanche responded.

Merchan found Monday that Trump had again violated an April 1 gag order that bars him from disparaging witnesses or the jury. He warned that Trump could face jail time "if necessary" for any further violations. Trump has already been fined $10,000 for the violations.

Payments made to Daniels by Trump’s then-lawyer Michael Cohen near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign are at the heart of the case.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in return for her keeping quiet about her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump. Daniels testified Tuesday about the sexual contact she said she had with Trump and the payment to buy her silence. Trump has denied her claims and pleaded not guilty to all charges.