A judge fined former President Donald Trump $10,000 for violating a gag order that blocks him from disparaging court staff in public, the second time he has done so this month.
New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing Trump’s civil fraud trial, imposed the gag order on October 3. The restriction blocks anyone in the case from making negative remarks about court staffers and came after Trump posted about Engoron’s law clerk on social media.
Trump was in court on Wednesday as his former attorney Michael Cohen testified against him. During a break, the former president made comments to reporters about the case, calling Engoron “a very partisan judge, with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”
In a surprising moment, Engoron called Trump to the stand to expand on his comments. Trump said they were not about the clerk, Allison Greenfield, but about Cohen.
The former president added, however, that Greenfield was “maybe unfair, and I think she’s very biased against us.”
The judge quickly dismissed Trump’s claims.
“As the trier of fact, I find that the witness is not credible,” Engoron said, adding he believed Trump was “referring to my ... principal law clerk, who is sitting much closer to me.”
“I hereby fine you $10,000, which is on the liberal side, to be paid in 30 days,” the judge ruled.
“Don’t do it next time, or it’ll be worse,” Engoron added when Trump’s attorneys asked him to reconsider the fine.
In his order earlier this month, the judge ordered Trump to delete a social media post about his clerk, saying the “current overheated climate” could lead to “serious physical harm, and worse.” Trump failed to do so, however, and the former president was fined $5,000.
“I am very protective of my staff, as I should be,” Engoron said on Wednesday. “I don’t want anybody killed.”