Judge Fines Trump For Violating Gag Order In Civil Fraud Case

In a recent development in his civil fraud case, former President Donald Trump has been fined $5,000 by New York Judge Arthur Engoron for violating a partial gag order imposed during the trial prompted by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into the Trump family’s business dealings. This fine comes with a stern warning that further violations could lead to imprisonment.

The issue arose when Trump posted what Engoron claims is “an untrue, disparaging, and personally identifying post about my Principal Law Clerk” on his Truth Social account, alleging a relationship with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump even suggested that this alleged connection warranted the immediate dismissal of the case.

Per his order, Engoron said he instructed Trump to remove the post immediately and imposed a partial gag order to prevent personal attacks on court staff, emphasizing that such behavior would not be tolerated under any circumstances.

However, it was later discovered that the post had remained on the ‘DonaldJTrump.com’ website for 17 days until it was removed in response to an email from the court. Trump’s legal team argued that the violation was inadvertent and an unfortunate part of the campaign structure. However, Engoron held that regardless of intent, Trump had violated the gag order.

“Issuing yet another warning is no longer appropriate; this Court is way beyond the ‘warning’ stage,” Engoron stated.

In response to this violation, the court imposed a nominal fine of $5,000, given Trump’s assertion that it was his first violation. However, the judge issued a strong warning that future violations, intentional or unintentional, would result in far more severe sanctions, including heavier financial penalties, contempt of court, and potential imprisonment under New York Judiciary Law.

This legal showdown involves allegations that Trump and his company committed fraudulent practices related to the valuation of assets and financial misrepresentation. The GOP presidential candidate has consistently criticized the lawsuit, the absence of a jury trial, and Engoron, whom he has labeled as “corrupt.” 

His spokesperson emphasized that the case was filed under a consumer protection statute that precludes a jury trial and expressed disappointment that the jury would not assess the case’s merits.

In a related development on Monday, a federal judge also imposed a partial gag order on Trump in a separate case related to charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan warned Trump against making statements targeting prosecutors, court staff, witnesses, or Special Counsel Jack Smith, indicating that sanctions could be imposed should Trump violate the partial gag order.

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