On Wednesday, the focus abruptly shifted from Michael Cohen’s testimony when the judge requested that former President Trump appear on the witness stand following the court’s lunch recess.
The judge imposed a $10,000 fine on Trump for what was perceived as a breach of a court directive. This directive prohibited Trump from making public comments about the court staff and the presiding judge. The judge believed that Trump had violated this order through previous statements he made to the press before the trial commenced on Wednesday.
On Friday, a New York judge imposed a $5,000 penalty on former President Trump due to his failure to take down a disparaging comment about the judge’s chief clerk from his campaign website, in defiance of the judge’s explicit directive.
While Judge Arthur Engoron stopped short of declaring Trump in contempt of court, he cautioned that any additional breaches of the silence order he instituted following the post made via Trump’s Truth Social platform could lead to more severe consequences. These could range from heftier fines and a contempt of court ruling to potential imprisonment.
New York judge asks Trump to keep quiet during civil fraud trial
A New York judge asked former President Donald Trump to keep quiet during his civil fraud trial on Monday after he grew animated while a witness testified against him.
Judge Arthur Engoron issued the warning after Trump threw his hands up in frustration and conferred with his lawyers during real estate appraiser Doug Larson’s second day of testimony, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Kevin Wallace, a lawyer with the state attorney general’s office, requested that Engoron ask the defense to “stop commenting during the witness’s testimony,” noting that Trump’s comments were audible on the witness side of the room. Engoron then asked everyone to keep their voices down, “particularly if it’s meant to influence the testimony,” the AP reported.
This is the second time that Trump has been admonished by the judge during his trial. He was also warned about his behavior during the start of the trial earlier this month.
Trump has called the trial a “witch hunt” and repeatedly criticized both Judge Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James. He has denied any wrongdoing.
James sued Trump, the Trump Organization, and Trump’s two adult sons – Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump – last year, claiming they engaged in decades of fraud by falsely inflating and deflating the value of their assets to receive lower taxes and better insurance coverage. James’s office is asking for $250 million in financial penalties and a ban on Trump and his children serving as officers or directors of New York companies.
The fraud trial, which is expected to run through December, is the first of a slew of legal challenges that Trump faces next year as he continues his bid for the White House as the top GOP presidential primary candidate. Trump faces a combined 91 charges across four criminal cases and is a party in more than a half-dozen civil lawsuits.