Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron fined former President Donald Trump on Wednesday for a second time for allegedly violating one of the gag orders restricting the 2024 GOP front-runner’s speech.
The judge presiding over Trump’s New York fraud trial — brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, who campaigned on prosecuting Trump — fined him $10,000 for a comment made outside the courtroom about “a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside” Engoron.
According to The New York Times, the judge forced Trump to take the stand to explain the remark. “Mr. Trump said that his comments had referred not to the clerk, whom he had previously attacked, but to his former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, a witness,” the Times reported.
The judge ultimately handed down the $10,000 fine just days after the former president was slapped with a $5,000 fine for a post on social media about Engoron’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield.
The gag order in the case was implemented on Oct. 3, shortly before the federal judge in Trump’s trial related to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, issued a similar decree. On Oct. 16, Judge Tanya Chutkan effectively barred the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination from speaking publicly about the case with little more than a year until Election Day.
“This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses,” Chutkan said. “This is about language that presents a danger to the administration of justice.”
The orders are a threat to self-government, with judges prohibiting the most popular Republican in the country from running an effective campaign. With a more than 46-point lead in the polls, according to RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of surveys, Trump’s primary challenge isn’t with his Republican rivals. His primary opponent is the Department of Justice, run by none other than the Democrat incumbent in the White House. Trump is now faced with 44 counts in two federal indictments going into the next election.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that “after Justice Engoron issued the fine, the trial resumed, with Mr. Trump’s lawyers prompting Mr. [Michael] Cohen to admit that he had lied on past occasions.” Cohen was Trump’s attorney for more than a decade.
“Soon, another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Clifford S. Robert, called for an immediate verdict, given Mr. Cohen’s contradictions,” the Times reported. “Justice Engoron denied the request, and Mr. Trump slid his chair back and stormed out of the courtroom.”
Last month, Engoron devalued the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate, which sits on a prime patch of property in Palm Beach, to just between $18 million and $28 million.