The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York fined the former US president $10,000 yesterday for violating an order not to criticize court staff.
Judge Arthur Engoron imposed the fine — Trump’s second — after determining that comments he made to reporters during a break in the trial violated a partial gag order issued three weeks ago, reports AFP.
Engoron slapped a limited gag order on Trump on October 3 after he insulted the judge’s principal law clerk in a post on his Truth Social platform.
The offending post was deleted from Truth Social but the judge fined Trump $5,000 last week for not promptly removing it from his 2024 presidential campaign website.
The latest fine came after Trump said Engoron is a “very partisan judge with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”
Trump’s attorneys said the former president was referring to witness Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer turned bitter foe, and not to the judge’s clerk who sits near him in court.
The judge briefly called Trump to the witness stand to explain himself and the former president repeated that he was referring to Cohen.
After Trump spoke, the judge said “the defendant was not credible” and imposed the fine.
Trump abruptly left the courtroom shortly afterward.
The frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Trump and his two eldest sons are accused of inflating the value of the real estate assets of the Trump Organization to receive more favorable bank loans and insurance terms.
The former president has repeatedly attacked Engoron, calling him a “Trump-hating judge,” but the October 3 gag order only ordered a halt to attacks on court staff.
The federal judge set to preside over Trump’s March trial for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election also imposed a partial gag order on the former president but temporarily lifted it to give Trump’s legal team time to submit their objections.