Trump just can’t catch a break.
On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump incurred a $10,000 fine for breaching a partial gag order imposed by New York Judge Arthur Engoron in the ongoing civil trial related to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him and the Trump Organization.
According to Fox, Judge Engoron had issued the partial gag order recently, prohibiting all involved parties from making disparaging remarks about his court staff. Earlier, Trump had already received a $5,000 fine for violating this order on social media, and the judge had even mentioned the possibility of imprisonment for any further infractions.
During proceedings on Wednesday, Judge Engoron summoned the former president to testify in the civil trial and inquired about comments Trump had made to the press earlier in the day concerning “a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside” the judge. When asked to clarify, Trump identified Judge Engoron and Michael Cohen, his former attorney who had testified against him the previous day.
Judge Engoron pressed further, asking if Trump might have been referring to his clerk. Trump insisted that he was not, but rather, he had criticized a different clerk whom he believed to be biased against him. However, Judge Engoron clarified that he believed Trump was referring to his law clerk.
Consequently, Trump was assessed a $10,000 fine, which Judge Engoron described as “on the liberal side.” Trump’s legal team objected to the fine, arguing that having a law clerk on the bench with the judge was unconventional and “inappropriate.” They claimed that the clerk had displayed disapproval by rolling her eyes, and Trump’s attorneys contended that the judge’s influence was inappropriate.
Judge Engoron firmly responded that he made the final decisions and valued input from both of his law clerks, asserting that this was his established practice.
In the end, Judge Engoron upheld his ruling, confirming that Trump had indeed referred to his clerk, and levied the $10,000 fine. This partial gag order had been implemented after Trump had posted on his Truth Social account, alleging a relationship between Judge Engoron’s law clerk and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with a photo. Trump had insisted that this warranted immediate dismissal of the case. Although Trump claimed to have deleted the post, the judge found a copy still present on Trump’s campaign website and fined him an additional $5,000.
Judge Engoron issued a stern warning, declaring that any future violations, whether intentional or inadvertent, could result in more severe penalties, including larger financial fines, a finding of contempt of court, or even potential imprisonment under New York Judiciary Law.
The ongoing trial stems from a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, against Trump, accusing him and his organization of misleading banks and others regarding the value of his assets. James alleged that Trump, his children Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, as well as his associates and businesses, engaged in “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” on their financial statements.
In a prior ruling, Judge Engoron had determined that Trump and the Trump Organization had committed fraud in their real estate dealings by deceiving banks, insurers, and other parties through overvaluation of assets and exaggeration of net worth on financial documents used for deals and financing. This legal action was initiated following allegations that the former president had “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars,” with assistance from his children.