CNN analyst throws cold water on Jim Acosta’s fantasy of Trump in a holding cell

Just when Jim Acosta was fantasizing about former President Donald Trump behind bars, a CNN analyst rained on his parade.

Acosta led a panel on “CNN This Morning” Friday to discuss the latest in Trump’s hush money trial in New York City and if allegations that he violated Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order will land him in jail.

While Acosta seemed to relish the idea of a former U.S. president behind bars, network analysts cautioned that that scenario puts “us between this rock and a hard place.”

“Donald Trump could be facing contempt charges. Prosecutors claiming he violated a gag order multiple times, one that bans him from talking about witnesses and jurors in the hush money trial. The former president using every chance he gets to air his familiar, nonstop grievances,” Acosta recapped before playing a clip of Trump outside the courtroom.

“You know, I was talking to Joey Jackson yesterday and he said, you know, after that Truth Social post where he was quoting Jesse Watters and he’s sort of insinuating that people are lying their way into the jury, which prosecutors say that that violates a gag order,” Acosta said. “Joey Jackson was saying, maybe it’s time for the judge to send a message. Trump put him in the holding cell for a couple of hours, see if that changes his mood. What do you think?”

“Absolutely!” exclaimed CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams.

“The problem is that it’s not clear how much authority that the judge has to just do that,” he added.

“The judge, at a minimum, has to have a hearing under New York state law. It’s not the judge being weak or feckless or afraid of Donald Trump. The law says that there’s a process that he has to follow,” Williams continued.

“And now the question is, is it civil contempt where you’re trying to compel him to behave better in the future, is a criminal contempt where you’re locking him up for things he’s done in the past, which is much harder and almost, in effect, requires a separate trial,” he said. “My big question is, why is the judge waiting until the 23rd? I guess four days from now? To even have that hearing in the first place. He could have done so yesterday or today to really send that message that this is important to the court and this conduct needs to stop.”

Acosta chimed in to question how this would all affect the presidential race leading up to November.

“We saw what happened when he had the mug shot. That fired up his base. Obviously, it wasn’t really necessary at that point, it kind of wrapped up the nomination,” he said, turning to CNN analyst Mark Preston. “But if he actually has to go into a holding jail cell, what does that do? Do we even know? I guess we don’t know.”

But while Preston agreed about what is unknown, he dropped a truth bomb about what would happen if Trump were to be physically sent to jail.

“You know, I don’t think we know, but it really does put us between this rock and a hard place. Right,” he responded to Acosta.

“And the rock is like, listen, he has done something that’s wrong. And if it was any of us sitting at this table, would we be, you know, held to a higher or was held to a higher standard? Would we have to go, you know, into that holding cell?” he wondered.

“I think that if he does go into this hole, if that were to happen, first of all, I think you would probably see civil unrest across the country, certainly in some cities. That’s 1,” he warned.

“And 2 politically, if I’m the Biden campaign, I don’t want to necessarily see him in jail because that’s just going to get people more inflamed and more fired up,” Preston contended. “I don’t think that’s necessarily great for the country. Even if we are bending the rules for someone.”

Frieda Powers

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