In New York, during Donald Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial, the presiding judge, Arthur Engoron, hinted at the possibility of imprisoning the former president. This development came after Trump failed to comply with a partial gag order, which required him to delete a social media post criticizing the judge’s law clerk.
On Friday morning, Judge Engoron revealed that Trump had shared a false and derogatory post about his clerk on social media. Engoron had a conversation with Trump regarding this issue, during which he instructed the former president to promptly remove the post. Trump affirmed that he had taken it down as instructed.
Trump’s online and public comments insinuated an inappropriate relationship between the clerk and Senator Chuck Schumer, an allegation categorically denied by Schumer’s spokesperson Allison Biasotti as “pathetic,” “ridiculous, absurd, and false.” She clarified that Schumer had no knowledge of the clerk.
Trump did not limit his criticism to the clerk alone but also directed disparaging remarks at Judge Arthur Engoron in public statements and campaign emails, labeling the judge as a “far-left Democrat.”
Judge Engoron expressed his frustration, emphasizing that failure to comply with the gag order would lead to severe consequences. He revealed that despite the court’s order, the contentious post had remained on Trump’s 2024 campaign website for 17 days, only being removed after a court email prompted its deletion. The limited gag order had been instituted in early October.
Engoron raised concerns about the potential harm caused by incendiary and false statements, highlighting their connection to physical harm. He gave Trump an opportunity to provide an explanation, warning of the possibility of serious sanctions or even imprisonment.
In response, Trump’s defense attorney, Chris Kise, claimed the violation was inadvertent and cited the removal of the Truth Social post when requested by the court. Kise also conveyed regrets on behalf of his client regarding the post on the campaign website. The judge acknowledged Kise’s remarks but emphasized Trump’s responsibility for the content displayed on his campaign website.
It’s worth noting that Trump faces a partial gag order in one of the four criminal cases against him, overseen by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, which restricts him from making statements about potential witnesses and disparaging prosecutors.
Civil Fraud Trial
The civil fraud trial in New York, which doesn’t involve a jury, commenced in early October. New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated the lawsuit in September 2022, alleging that Trump and his adult sons engaged in fraudulent actions to inflate his personal net worth for favorable loan agreements, with over 200 instances of fraud spanning a decade.
Judge Engoron, in allowing the trial to proceed, determined that Trump had committed fraud for years, manipulating the value of his assets to his advantage and exaggerating his wealth by billions. The attorney general seeks approximately $250 million in penalties and aims to permanently restrict the Trump family from serving as officers of New York companies while preventing Trump from engaging in commercial real estate deals in the state for five years.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.