Former President Donald Trump has already violated the partial gag order that was placed upon him in his New York civil trial, and he received a $5,000 fine for doing so.
Last week, Judge Arthur Engoron fined Trump $5,000 for violating the gag order that was imposed on him following a request by state Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is pursuing Trump, his two sons and their business in the case.
In addition to issuing the fine, the judge warned Trump that if he were to violate the gag order again in the future, he could face time in prison.
The partial gag order was put in place earlier in October to prevent any party in the case from verbally attacking members of the court staff. That happened after Trump criticized one of the members of Engoron’s office on his social media accounts.
In an order filed Friday, Engoron wrote:
“On October 3, during a break in this trial, defendant Donald Trump posted to his social media account an untrue, disparaging and personally identifying post about my Principal Law Clerk.”
The judge also ordered Trump to remove that post “immediately.”
Trump posted the message on his social media platform Truth Social. It stated that the law clerk had established a relationship with Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader in the Senate. Because of that relationship, Trump wrote, his case “should be dismissed immediately.”
In his recent filing, the judge continued:
“Approximately 10 minutes later, Donald Trump represented to me that he had taken down the offending post, and that he would not engage in similar behavior going forward.”
Engoron added that he put the partial gag order in place, and it emphasized that “personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I will not tolerate them under any circumstances.”
He then continued:
“Despite this clear order, last night I learned that the subject offending post was never removed from the website ‘DonaldJTrump.com,’ and, in fact, had been on that website for the past 17 days. I understand it was removed late last night, but only in response to an email from this Court.”
The judge did say that Trump’s lawyers told him they violated the gag order inadvertently and was an “unfortunate part of the process that is built into the campaign structure.”
No matter what the reason, though, the judge said that Trump had “violated the gag order.”
He wrote that Trump received “ample warning” from the court regarding the repercussions that he could face if he violated that order. Since it was his first violation, he was only given the $5,000 “nominal fine.”
But, the judge wrote:
“Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include, but are not limited to, steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possibly imprisoning him pursuant to New York Judiciary Law.”