Trump day in court sees Cohen testimony and ex-president face $10,000 fine
Former President Trump's civil fraud trial in New York on Wednesday saw the GOP presidential frontrunner turn up again, get fined $10,000 and come face to face with his onetime personal lawyer Michael Cohen for the first time in years.
The big picture: Trump's surprise appearance on the witness stand at the Manhattan courthouse coincided with Cohen's second day of testimony against his former boss.
Driving the news: Trump was unexpectedly called to the witness stand to explain comments he made earlier in the day about the judge overseeing the trial's law clerk.
- Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay $10,000 for violating the gag order, which was issued by Judge Arthur Engoron earlier this month.
- Trump abruptly left the courtroom Wednesday during Cohen's testimony, shortly after his lawyers asked for a direct verdict from Engoron after Cohen testified Trump never asked him to inflate his net worth.
- After walking out, the former president said: "The witness just admitted that we won the trial. And the judge should end this trial immediately," per a post on X.
- Trump returned to the courtroom a few minutes later.
Zoom in: Engoron questioned on Wednesday why he should not impose "severe sanctions" on Trump after he appeared to reference the judge's law clerk.
- "This judge is a very partisan judge with a person who is very partisan sitting alongside him — perhaps even much more partisan than he is," Trump told reporters during a break, CNN reports.
- Engoron said that Trump has made "defamatory, disparaging, untrue comments" about the law clerk in the past, which is what prompted his gag order in the fraud trial.
- "Why should there not be severe sanctions for disobeying a clear court order?" Engoron said Wednesday.
Flashback: Engoron fined Trump $5,000 last week after he learned that a Truth Social post attacking his law clerk remained on Trump's campaign site, despite an order to remove the post earlier this month.
- Cohen, Trump's onetime personal lawyer, testified Tuesday that he manipulated financial information to reflect "whatever number Mr. Trump told us."
State of play: Cohen is a key witness in New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million lawsuit alleging that Trump, his eldest children and the Trump Organization committed years of financial fraud.
- Cohen, a fixer-turned-foe of the former president, was originally set to testify last week, but postponed it due to a "pre-existing medical condition."
Go deeper: Trump's unusual New York campout
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.