New York, October 21, 2023
Former President Donald Trump has been slapped with a $5,000 fine by Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron for violating a partial gag order in his ongoing $250 million fraud case. The judge’s decision followed Trump’s inflammatory remarks on social media, prompting the court to take action against the ex-president’s disregard for the order.
Engoron’s limited gag order was issued after Trump, in a now-deleted post on Truth Social, targeted a court staffer by name and shared her social media profile. The post was also circulated via a campaign email blast and remained on Trump’s ’24 website for weeks, despite the judge’s directive to remove it. Engoron’s patience wore thin when he discovered the post was still live on the website, leading to the imposition of the fine.
Although Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, apologized for the post, Engoron stressed the seriousness of the violation. In a court filing, the judge warned, “Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions.”
This incident marks the first time Trump has faced consequences for his attacks on judges and prosecutors, despite previous warnings from the court. The former president has a history of criticizing the legal system, judges, and prosecutors involved in his various legal battles, including the $250 million civil lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against him and the Trump Organization.
In the ongoing case, James has accused Trump and his company of defrauding banks, insurers, and other parties, seeking to bar Trump from doing business in New York. Engoron had previously found Trump and his company guilty of fraud, and the current trial aims to determine the appropriate punishment for the ex-president.
Engoron’s decision to issue a fine, rather than a more severe penalty such as imprisonment, reflects the court’s attempt to balance punishment with a warning for Trump to adhere to the gag order. However, the judge emphasized that further violations, intentional or unintentional, would lead to even harsher sanctions.
This ruling adds another chapter to Trump’s legal woes, underscoring the challenges he faces in navigating multiple legal battles while under the scrutiny of the courts and the public eye. As the case continues, observers will be closely watching to see if Trump heeds the court’s warning or faces further repercussions for his actions.