A New York judge has imposed a fine of $5,000 on former President Trump for violating a partial gag order. This order was set in place during the civil trial that arose from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ probe into the Trump family’s business operations. The judge also cautioned the potential 2024 presidential candidate about the possibility of incarceration for any future breaches.
“On October 3, during a break in this trial, defendant Donald Trump posted to his social media account an untrue, disparaging, and personally identifying post about my Principal Law Clerk,” Engoron documented in a recent filing.
“Approximately 10 minutes later, Donald Trump represented to me that he had taken down the offending post, and that he would not engage in similar behavior going forward,” Engoron added. Engoron then established the partial gag order, underscoring that “personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I will not tolerate them under any circumstances.”
“Despite this clear order, last night I learned that the subject offending post was never removed from the website ‘DonaldJTrump.com,’ and, in fact, had been on that website for the past 17 days,” Engoron disclosed. He was informed that the post was finally deleted but only after the court sent an email.
Engoron conveyed that Trump’s attorneys argued the breach of the gag order was unintentional, describing it as an “unfortunate part of the process that is built into the campaign structure.” However, Engoron was firm in his stance that Trump “violated the gag order.”
“Donald Trump has received ample warning from this Court as to the possible repercussions of violating the gag order,” Engoron said. He further expressed his belief that another warning would be redundant, as the court has moved past the “warning” phase.
Engoron clarified that while he acknowledges Trump’s stance that the violation was accidental, and even if it’s the “first time” such a breach occurred, the court will impose a “nominal fine” of $5,000.
“Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include, but are not limited to, steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possibly imprisoning him pursuant to New York Judiciary Law,” Engoron warned.
This trial follows a lawsuit initiated by James, a Democrat, against Trump the previous year. She alleged that Trump and his company provided misleading information to banks and other entities about the value of his assets. James accused Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, along with his associates and businesses, of committing “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” on their financial documents.
Trump has been vocal in his criticism of James for initiating the lawsuit, the absence of a jury in the trial and Judge Engoron, whom he labeled as “corrupt.” He stated through a spokesperson, “The Attorney General filed this case under a consumer protection statute that denies the right to a jury. There was never an option to choose a jury trial. It is unfortunate that a jury won’t be able to hear how absurd the merits of this case are and conclude no wrongdoing ever happened.”
Engoron, in the previous month, ruled that Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in fraud during the construction of his real estate empire. This was achieved by misleading banks, insurance companies and other entities by inflating the value of his assets and exaggerating his net worth on documents used for deals and financing. Engoron’s decision came after James filed a lawsuit against Trump, his offspring and the Trump Organization. She alleged that the former president “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” and claimed his children aided him in this endeavor.
Furthermore, another federal judge imposed a partial gag order on Trump this week, preventing him from making statements targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith, his team, witnesses and court staff. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, overseeing Smith’s case against the former president related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, made this decision during a court hearing on Monday
She stated that Trump retains the right to criticize the Justice Department in general terms and express his belief that the case against him is politically driven. However, he is prohibited from launching attacks against prosecutors or court staff.
“No other criminal defendant would be allowed to do so, and I’m not going to allow it in this case,” Chutkan said. She also mentioned her readiness to impose sanctions if Trump breaches the partial gag order.
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