NEW: Trump Fined $10K for Breaking Gag Order in New York Civil Fraud Case
Back in early October, as RedState reported, former President Donald Trump learned that an appeals court had ordered a stop to the order by Arthur Engoron, the judge in the New York civil fraud case against him, to revoke the business licenses for and begin the dissolution of Trump’s companies, including the Trump Organization:
….[O]n Friday an appeals court provided a partial win for Team Trump, placing a hold on Judge Engoron’s order to “cancel the business certificates” of the companies while refusing to stay the trial itself.
The ruling, as I noted in my update piece, was seen as a temporary victory for Trump. But on Wednesday, his side suffered another loss, with Judge Engoron imposing a new fine of $10,000.To put what happened in proper context, we need to back up to last week, when Trump was fined $5,000 for commenting publicly about the judge’s law clerk:
Justice Engoron had already fined Mr. Trump $5,000 last week for comments he made about Ms. Greenfield, whom the former president was barred from discussing after he attacked her on social media in the trial’s opening days.
That first violation was something of a technicality: Though the comments about Ms. Greenfield were deleted from social media, they had also been posted to Mr. Trump’s website and were not taken down for weeks.
The main event on Wednesday was the second day of testimony by former Trump fixer Michael Cohen. But it was Trump whom Engoron called to take the witness stand, to ask him about Trump’s talking with reporters earlier on Wednesday.
Before Trump testified, his attorney tried to clear things up, but was unsuccessful:
A lawyer for Mr. Trump, Christopher M. Kise, protested that the former president had been referring to Mr. Cohen, his former fixer, who was testifying for a second day. Mr. Trump did clearly refer to Mr. Cohen immediately after the initial comment, calling him a “discredited witness.”
The judge responded that the target of the comments had seemed clear and, after a lunch break, called the hearing.
What did Trump say to reporters?
The incident that brought him to the stand began Wednesday morning during a break in the proceedings. Speaking to television cameras, Mr. Trump called Justice Engoron partisan, which is allowable under the gag order. But then he added: “with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside him. Perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”
After the break, the judge cited the comments, and said he was concerned that the overheated environment could result in real danger.
“I am very protective of my staff,” Justice Engoron said, adding, “I don’t want anybody killed.”
Here was how the interaction between the judge and Trump played out:
From the stand, Mr. Trump, wearing a navy suit and curtailing his usual monologue, insisted that his spontaneous comments in a courthouse hallway had been about his former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, a witness.
They were not, he said, about the judge’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield, whom he had previously attacked on social media. But Mr. Trump testified that he thought Ms. Greenfield was “maybe unfair, and I think she’s very biased against us.”
He left the stand after about three minutes and Justice Engoron made his pronouncement almost immediately afterward.
“I find that the witness is not credible,” he said, and levied the fine as Mr. Trump stared blankly ahead.
The twists and turns of this case seem complicated, at least to me. Stay tuned, as we work to keep the coverage of the proceedings as clear as possible.
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