DONALD Trump was held in contempt of court on Tuesday and fined 9000 dollars (£7100) for repeatedly violating a gag order that barred him from making public statements about witnesses, jurors and some others connected to his New York hush-money case.

If he does it again, the judge warned, he could be jailed.

Prosecutors had alleged 10 violations, but New York Judge Juan M Merchan found there were nine.

The ruling was a stinging rebuke for the Republican former president, who had insisted he was exercising his free speech rights.

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Merchan wrote that Trump “is hereby warned that the Court will not tolerate continued wilful violations of its lawful orders and that if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances, it will impose an incarceratory punishment”.

Trump stared down at the table in front of him as the judge read the ruling, frowning slightly.

The ruling came at the start of the second week of evidence in the historic case.

Manhattan prosecutors say Trump and his associates took part in an illegal scheme to influence the 2016 presidential campaign by burying negative stories.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Trump must pay the fine by the close of business on Friday, Merchan said in a written ruling.

He must also remove seven offending posts from his Truth Social account and two from his campaign website by 2:15pm on Tuesday, Merchan said.

The judge is also weighing other alleged gag order violations by Trump and will hear arguments on Thursday.

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Court was resuming on Tuesday with Gary Farro, a banker who helped Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to open accounts, including one that Cohen used to buy the silence of adult film performer Stormy Daniels.

She alleged a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies.

For his part, the former president and presumptive Republican nominee has been campaigning in his off-hours but is required to be in court when it is in session, four days a week.

Outside the courtroom, Trump criticised prosecutors again.

“This is a case that should have never been brought,” he said.