Donald Trump faced a tumultuous day as he testified in his $250 million fraud case. During a contentious day of proceedings, Trump was slapped with a $10,000 fine for violating a gag order.
The unexpected exit from the courtroom, which caught even his lawyers and Secret Service agents off guard, marked a dramatic moment.
However, Trump returned after the day’s proceedings concluded and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, had finished his testimony.
Judge Arthur Engoron imposed the financial penalty after summoning Trump to testify under oath, questioning who he was referring to when he accused someone in the courtroom of being “very partisan.”
Trump identified Cohen as the individual he had in mind despite his history of derogatory comments about his former attorney.
Trump’s assertion regarding Cohen’s partisanship raised eyebrows, especially given that the judge’s law clerk, seated next to him, had also been a target of Trump’s team’s complaints.
Trump’s lawyers had previously asked for decorum from the bench during Cohen’s questioning.
Engoron was not convinced by Trump’s brief testimony, finding it “not credible,” and thus imposing the fine.
This penalty resulted from Trump’s earlier social media comments smearing the judge’s law clerk.
Trump’s Courtroom Drama: Verdict Denied, Gag Order Fine
Trump’s abrupt departure from the courtroom later was due to the judge denying his legal team’s request for a directed verdict on a separate issue.
Trump insisted they had already won the trial, an assertion that the judge did not accept.
The court case has revolved around allegations of fraudulent financial statements, with the judge previously ruling that Trump engaged in “persistent fraud” with these statements.
New York Attorney General Letitia James emphasized that Cohen’s evidence had been corroborated by substantial documentation and that Cohen was not the primary witness in the case.
Trump’s lawyers had attempted to reconsider the fine, reiterating that Cohen was the “partisan” figure to which Trump referred.
However, the judge upheld the original ruling, warning Trump not to violate the gag order again.
This fine marked the second time Engoron had penalized Trump for breaching the gag order.
The order was initially issued when Trump falsely insinuated that the judge’s law clerk had a personal relationship with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, an accusation Schumer’s office categorically denied.
The judge had ordered Trump to remove the false post from his social media.
Engoron expressed concern that such attacks could incite threats and violence, leading him to impose the gag order.
Trump’s legal team argued that the post’s presence on his campaign website was inadvertent.
The judge responded by emphasizing the severity of future violations, including more substantial financial penalties and possibly holding Trump in contempt of court or imprisonment.