The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial admonished the former president’s attorneys for a “blatant violation” of a gag order and suggested that violations could result in “imprisonment.”
Judge Arthur Engoron said despite his clear order to take down a social media post attacking his clerk, “I learned that the subject post was never removed from the website.”
“And, in fact, had been on that website for the past 17 days. I understand that it was removed late last night but only in response to an email,” Engoron said.
The post was removed from Truth Social right after the gag order was issued but not from Trump’s campaign website, DonaldJTrump.com.
The judge hinted at serious sanctions for the former president.
“I will now provide defendants an opportunity to explain why this blatant violation of this gag order should not result in serious sanctions including financial penalties… and or possibly imprisonment.”
Trump attorney Chris Kise apologized to Engoron, saying it was “inadvertent” that the post was able to live on what he called a “back page” of Trump’s campaign website.
“It appears no one also took down the ICYMI link that’s in the campaign website in the back pages,” Kise said.
“Truly this appears to be inadvertent,” Kise said, adding, “I certainly apologize on behalf of my clients.”
Kise blamed it on the large machinery of the campaign and was assured the judge that Trump ordered the post removed.
“There was no intention to evade, or circumvent, or ignore the order,” Kise added and explained nothing further has been posted on Trump’s Truth Social website.
Kise said he got confirmation Thursday night and Friday morning that the post had been taken down and said it appears to be an issue within the campaign.
“It’s part of the process that is built into the campaign structure as I understand it. That all of this, in Truth posts, are wrapped up and sent out.” Kise said.
Engoron said, “I will take this under advisement. I want to make clear that Donald Trump is still responsible for the large machine, even if it is a large machine.”
He added: “In the current overheated climate incendiary untruths can and in some cases already has lead to serious physical harm and worse.”
On the second day of the trial, October 3, Engoron issued a partial gag order on all parties not to speak about any members of the court staff after Trump posted on Truth Social attacking Engoron’s clerk. The post claimed she was a “girlfriend” to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, showing a picture of the two of them together.
The judge said at the time failure to abide by the order would result in serious sanctions.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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