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Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday former President Trump would be thrown in jail if he were a “normal person” for violating a gag order. But Holder said he does not expect the judge will discipline the leading 2024 GOP presidential candidate in such a way.
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” Holder said he expects Trump will eventually violate his reinstated gag order — which he described as pretty limited and reasonable — but said the judge will have to make tough decisions about how to respond.
“Would a judge actually do that which would happen to a normal person, and put somebody in jail for violating a … gag order?” Holder said. “I suspect that’s not likely to happen with this defendant, but any other defendant would probably be facing [jail time].”
Holder, who served in former President Obama’s administration, said there is a range of disciplinary options to consider if Trump violates the gag order, including imposing fines or restricting Trump’s access to his social media platform, Truth Social.
Holder stressed, however, he would be “extremely reluctant” to put Trump in jail for violating the gag order, which Judge Tanya Chutkan reinstated Sunday in the federal case related to Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The gag order specifies Trump cannot attack certain people involved in the case, but it does not restrict his right to discuss the case generally.
“I’d try to be as creative as possible if I were the judge, but I’d be extremely reluctant to take a person who’s a former president, the leading candidate of one of our major parties, and actually put him in jail,” Holder said.
Asked whether he is worried about the political consequences or the country’s reaction, Holder said, “This is already a pretty divided nation, and to do something like that — to take somebody off the campaign trail, to put him in jail. I just would be very reluctant, really reluctant to do that.”