Trials & Litigation

Finding Trump's explanation 'not credible,' judge fines him $10K for second gag order violation

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AP Trump civil fraud trial October 2023

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a break in his civil business fraud trial at the New York Supreme Court on Oct. 25 in New York. Photo by Seth Wenig/The Associated Press.

The judge presiding in former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial fined him $10,000 on Wednesday for a second violation of a gag order banning remarks about court staff members.

Judge Arthur Engoron of New York imposed the fine after calling Trump to the stand to testify about comments that he made during a break in the trial, report the New York Times, Politico, Law360, the Associated Press and CNN.

Politico reports that Trump’s remark to reporters was: “This judge is a very partisan judge with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”

On the stand, Trump said his remark referred to Engoron and to Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who has testified that Trump ordered him to falsify financial documents to inflate his net worth.

Trump told Engoron that he wasn’t speaking about the law clerk, but he does think that she is “maybe unfair” and “very biased against me.”

Engoron indicated that he didn’t believe Trump and pointed out that his law clerk sat closer to him than Cohen.

“As the trier of fact, I find the witness is not credible,” Engoron said, referring to Trump.

Engoron’s Oct. 3 gag order bans Trump from making any posts, emails or public remarks about his court staff members. Engoron imposed the order after Trump said in a social media post that Engoron’s law clerk was politically biased and was “running this case against me.” The post included her picture.

The post was removed from Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, but it remained on Trump’s website for 17 days. Engoron fined Trump for that gag order violation, saying in an Oct. 20 ruling he was “way beyond the ‘warning’ stage.”

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