A New York judge threatened to imprison former President Donald Trump on Friday claiming that he violated a gag order issued at the beginning of the civil fraud trial brought forth by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Judge Arthur Engoron berated Trump’s defense team in opening remarks over allegations that Trump failed to remove a social media post mocking the judge’s clerk’s relationship with Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, which was the reason Engoron issued the gag order on the second day of trial.
“In the current overheated climate, incendiary comments can and in some cases already has, led to serious physical harm and worse. I will now allow the defendants to explain why this blatant violation of the gag order would not result in serious sanctions, including financial sanctions and/or possibly imprisoning him,” Engoron said to Trump’s attorneys, according to NBC News.
In response, Trump’s lawyer Christopher Kise stated that the failure to remove Trump’s post from the campaign website was an error that Trump’s campaign team committed, pointing out that the former president had previously removed the post from his Truth Social account.
“There was no intention to evade or circumvent or ignore the order. I assure you that. I just know that this is a very large machine and this is one of the reasons, frankly, I don’t have social media.” Kise said. “But that’s been taken down. And we don’t have any other… there were no subsequent postings.”
Engoron issued a gag order against Trump after the president publicly questioned the judge’s legal clerk, Allison Greenfield, and her reported ties to Chuck Schumer. Throughout the trial, Greenfield has supported Engoron by typically sitting next to the judge in the courtroom.
“Why is Judge Engoron’s Principal Law Clerk, Allison R Greenfield, palling around with Chuck Schumer?” Trump posted on social media. The post included a picture of Greenfield with Chuck Schumer and a link to her Instagram account.
The progressive judge told the defense team that Trump remained accountable for the content of the website even if there was clearly no intention to circumvent the order, adding that he would take the defense team’s response into consideration. However, he made no more comments regarding potential sanctions or a planned course of action.