The New York judge presiding over Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial fined the former US president $5,000 on Friday for failing to comply with a partial gag order and threatened him with possible prison time for future violations.
Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump, 77, to pay the fine to the New York Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection within the next 10 days.
“Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violation to far more severe sanctions,” Engoron said in a court filing.
“(These include, but are not limited to, increased fines, the arrest of Donald Trump for contempt of court, and possibly his imprisonment under New York judicial law,” the judge added.
Engoron imposed a limited period of confidentiality on the former president on October 3 after he insulted the judge’s chief clerk in a social media post on his Truth Social platform.
The offending post was removed from Truth Social the same day, but the judge complained in his filing Friday that it remained on a Trump 2024 campaign website for 17 days until the court requested its removal on Thursday.
Engoron said Trump’s lawyers told him the breach of confidentiality was “unintentional.”
“In case of doubt, the defendant still violated the obligation of confidentiality,” said the judge. “In the current overheated climate, inflammatory falsehoods can lead to serious physical harm and worse, as has already happened in some cases.”
On Oct. 3, as Trump sat at the defense table, Engoron said he was issuing a partial gag order “prohibiting all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about my staff.”
Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and his two eldest sons are accused in the New York case of inflating the value of the Trump Organization’s real estate assets to obtain more favorable bank loans and insurance terms.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the judge personally, calling him a “Trump-hating judge,” but Engoron’s verbal gag order simply ordered an end to the attacks on his court staff.
On Monday, the federal judge presiding over Trump’s trial on charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election also imposed a partial gag order on the former president.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered Trump not to publicly attack prosecutors, court staff or potential witnesses ahead of the trial that begins in March 2024 in Washington.
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Source : www.ndtv.com