Oct 26, 2023 - Politics & Policy

NY judge defends $10,000 fine over Trump fraud trial gag order

 Justice Arthur Engoron sits in his court room during the civil fraud trial for Former President Donald Trump at New York State Supreme Court on October 25, 2023 in New York City.

Justice Arthur Engoron sits in his court room during the civil fraud trial for former President Trump at New York State Supreme Court on Oct. 25. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York judge overseeing former President Trump's civil fraud trial on Thursday defended his decision to fine the former president $10,000 for violating his gag order in the case.

Driving the news: "Anybody can run for president. I am going to protect my staff," Judge Arthur Engoron said on Thursday, CNN reports.

  • Engoron's comments came after a request by Trump's attorney Chris Kise to revisit the fine, which was issued on Wednesday, but the judge reaffirmed his penalty Thursday.

The big picture: Trump received his second fine in connection with violating his gag order Wednesday after he appeared to reference the judge's law clerk during remarks to reporters.

  • "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 in the trial on Wednesday.
  • Engoron issued the gag order earlier this month after Trump made a post on his Truth Social account attacking the judge's law clerk.
  • Trump was also fined $5,000 earlier this month after the judge learned that a Truth Social post attacking his law clerk remained on Trump's campaign site, despite an order to remove the post.

Zoom in: Trump, during a surprise testimony on Wednesday over his comments, said that he was referring to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who also testified in court on Wednesday, and not the judge's law clerk.

  • Engoron wrote in a court filing explaining his reason for the fine: "As the trier of fact, I find this testimony rings hollow and untrue."

Meanwhile, the former president took to his Truth Social account on Thursday to deride Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the $250 million lawsuit.

  • "The Radical Left Judge who should not be handling the FAKE & FULLY DISCREDITED CASE brought against me by the New York State A.G. ... fined me $10,000 yesterday under his so-called gag order," Trump wrote on Truth Social on Thursday.
  • "He is a judge that found me GUILTY before the trial even started, and long before he had the real facts," he said.

What we're watching: Trump's lawyers signaled that they intend to appeal the fine, CNN notes.

Go deeper: Trump day in court sees Cohen testimony and ex-president face $10,000 fine

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