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During Trump’s trial concerning hush money, the judge warned a witness about their behavior on the stand, hinting at possible removal from the court

Former President Donald Trump walks over to addresses reporters (Via Ben Smith/Getty Images)

Judge Juan M. Merchan, overseeing Donald Trump’s hush money trial, temporarily cleared the courtroom of reporters on Monday. He then threatened to eject the defense’s witness from the trial entirely due to his behavior on the stand, as revealed in a court transcript.

Merchan admonished Robert Costello, a former federal prosecutor, for what he deemed contemptuous conduct during his testimony. This included making comments under his breath, rolling his eyes, and speaking after objections had been sustained.

The tension escalated throughout the day, particularly during Costello’s testimony, which came after the prosecution’s key witness admitted to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from Trump’s company.

Melania Trump and Donald Trump (Via Ben Smith/Getty Images)

Trump’s legal team also sought to have the case dismissed after the prosecution finished presenting its evidence, though Merchan did not immediately rule on this request.

Merchan’s most pointed remarks were directed at Costello, prompting him to clear the jury from the courtroom to address proper decorum. He cautioned Costello against making remarks like “jeez” or instructing to “strike” testimony, emphasizing his exclusive authority in such matters.

The judge expressed further displeasure when Costello appeared to stare him down, prompting Merchan to warn that such behavior was contemptuous. He informed Costello that any further attempts to challenge him in this manner could lead to his removal from the witness stand.

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