Judge fines Trump $5,000 post maligning court
Judge Arthur Engoron refrained from immediately holding in contempt, but he did retain the authority to take such action in the future. This could potentially result in the 2024 Republican front-runner facing imprisonment if he were to violate once more the specific gag order that prohibits case participants from launching personal attacks on court staff.
In a formal written ruling, Engoron expressed that he had moved beyond the initial warning phase. However, he opted to impose a nominal fine on Trump because this constituted his first violation. Trump’s legal team contended that the post’s continued presence on the website was inadvertent.
There should be no misunderstanding: forthcoming, deliberate, or accidental violations will lead to significantly harsher consequences. These consequences may encompass heavier financial fines, a declaration of contempt of court against Donald and the potential for his imprisonment. Judge Engoron emphasized these points in a concise two-page order.
Efforts were made to obtain comments on the ruling by contacting Trump’s legal representatives and a spokesperson from his campaign.
Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, previously attributed the lingering post on the website to the intricate workings of Trump’s White House campaign, characterizing it as an unintentional oversight. He explained that the post was eventually removed from the website after Judge Engoron brought it to the attention of legal team.
Donald was absent from the court proceedings on Friday. He had attended the trial on Tuesday and Wednesday, following his presence during the initial three days in early October.
While outside the court this week, he directed his displeasure towards both Judge Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James, as their fraud lawsuit forms the core of the civil trial. Notably, neither of them is bound by Engoron’s gag order.
Nonetheless, Judge Engoron underlined that the ultimate responsibility lies with Trump, even if it was a member of his campaign who failed to remove the problematic post. He granted Trump a 10-day window to settle the fine.
I want to emphasize that, regardless of the size of the operation, Donald Trump remains accountable for it,” Judge Engoron stated after a conversation with legal team before resuming testimony on Friday morning.
On October 3, Engoron instituted a restricted gag order, prohibiting all case participants from making derogatory statements about his staff. This decision followed Trump’s disparaging remarks about principal law clerk Allison Greenfield in a post on his Truth Social platform.
The judge instructed Trump to remove the center, which contained unfounded implications about the clerk’s personal life and cautioned of potential “severe penalties” for any breaches of this order.
In the current highly charged atmosphere, inflammatory falsehoods have the potential, and in certain instances, have already resulted in significant physical harm and even worse,” Judge Engoron emphasized on Friday.
Before complied with the court’s directive to remove the post from Truth Social, his campaign had circulated the message through an email blast. This email, labeled “ICYMI,” was automatically archived on Trump’s website, as explained by Kise.
According to Kise, the email was dispatched to approximately 25,800 recipients on the campaign’s media list, and around 6,700 opened it. However, only 3,700 individuals viewed the post on Trump’s campaign website, the attorney reported after examining the statistics during the morning recess.
What occurred seems to have been genuinely unintended,” Kise stated.
The attorney professed a lack of knowledge concerning the intricate technical aspects of disseminating Trump’s social media content and public remarks, referring to the archiving as “an unfortunate aspect of the campaign procedure.”
Under New York law, judges can levy fines or impose imprisonment as penalties for contempt. In the previous year, Engoron held in disgust and set a $110,000 fine for his delayed response to a subpoena in the inquiry, ultimately resulting in the lawsuit.
James’ lawsuit alleges that Trump and his company engaged in fraud by providing banks and insurers with significantly inflated statements regarding net worth and asset values.
Judge Engoron has already determined that Trump and his company were involved in fraudulent actions. However, the ongoing trial concerns remaining claims, including conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records.
Trump maintains his innocence, contending that a disclaimer on his financial statements absolves him of any wrongdoing and that the values of some of his assets surpass the figures listed in the documents. He has repeatedly referred to the trial as a “sham,” a “scam,” and “a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time.”
The discussion on contempt added an unexpected twist to a relatively uneventful Friday, leading into what promises to be a hectic week in the Manhattan trial. former lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, who has become a crucial state witness, announced that he plans to testify next Tuesday, having postponed his appearance earlier this week due to a health issue.”
Ivanka initially a defendant in the case, was removed from it by an appeals court in June due to claims against her falling outside the statute of limitations. Her attorney argued in court documents on Thursday that state authorities needed to serve her with a subpoena appropriately.
They also asserted that she should not be compelled to testify as she is not a party to the case and resides outside the court’s jurisdiction in New York.
Ivanka Trump’s attorney, Bennet Moskowitz, contended that the Attorney General’s office had not previously questioned her in a deposition and is now attempting to reintegrate her into the case against her will.