Updated Oct 25, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump fined $10,000 in N.Y. fraud trial for violating gag order

Judge Arthur Engoron questions former President Trump on the witness stand today.

Judge Arthur Engoron questions former President Trump on the witness stand today. Sketch: Elizabeth Williams via AP

The judge overseeing former President Trump's civil fraud trial in New York on Wednesday ordered him to pay $10,000 for violating his gag order — the second fine relating to the order he's faced in less than week.

Why it matters: Trump was ordered to testify on Wednesday after Judge Arthur Engoron questioned whether he violated his gag order by appearing to reference the judge's law clerk during remarks to reporters.

  • Engoron issued the gag order earlier this month after Trump made a post on his Truth Social account attacking the judge's law clerk.

Details: "As the trier of fact, I find that the witness is not credible," Engoron said Wednesday after Trump's testimony, per CNN.

  • "Don't do it again or it'll be worse," the judge reportedly warned after issuing the fine.

Of note: Trump abruptly left court on Wednesday after Cohen's testimony, when he appeared to walk back some of the statements he had made earlier in the day about whether Trump asked him to inflate numbers on his financial statements.

  • "So Mr. Trump never asked you to inflate the numbers on his financial statement," Trump attorney Cliff Robert asked.
  • "Correct," Cohen said.
  • Trump told reporters outside the courthouse: "The witness just admitted that we won the trial. And the judge should end this trial immediately."

Zoom out: Engoron considered earlier on Wednesday whether he should 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.
  • "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.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details and background.

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