Sunday 22 October 2023

Judge fines Trump $5k for violating gag order and threatens 'far more severe' punishments, including imprisonment

 A judge fined former President Donald Trump $5,000 for violating his gag order in the Manhattan trial for business fraud and threatened possible imprisonment for further violations.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron admitted that the violation was "inadvertent" after a report found that Trump had neglected to delete a social media post criticizing Engoron's chief court clerk. 

"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," Engoron added.

Trump had criticized the judge's clerk over a photograph she took with Democrat Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

"How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!" he wrote on the post that referred to the clerk as "Schumer's girlfriend."

Engoron issued the gag order and said the accusations made against his clerk were "disparaging" and "untrue." 

While the former president took down the post on Truth Social, it was discovered to be up at his campaign website until Thursday when the court emailed them to take it down.

“Despite this order, last night I learned the offending post was never removed from a website. This is a blatant violation of the gag order," said Engoron. “Incendiary untruths can and have led to serious physical harm." 

An attorney for Trump apologized for the error.

"Based on my understanding this was truly inadvertent," said Chris Kise.

"The Truth Social post was taken down when the court asked," he added. "Truth Social was taken down and Trump never made any more comments about court staff, but it appears no one took it down on the campaign website. It is unfortunate and I apologize on behalf of my client."

Engoron previously ruled that Trump had committed fraud by overvaluing his net worth and properties in order to obtain beneficial financial loans and arrangements. That ruling related to only one of seven charges the former president faces in the civil fraud trial initiated by a filing from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Here's more about the ruling against Trump:

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