The judge overseeing the civil fraud trial against former US President Donald Trump and his company threatened “serious sanctions” — including potential imprisonment against him on Friday, October 20 after Trump appeared to violate the gag order barring him from speaking about the court’s staff.
Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a gag order against parties in the case on October 3 that prohibited speaking publicly about the court’s staff, after Trump made a disparaging Truth Social post about one of Engoron’s clerks.
The post was removed from Truth Social on October 3, hours after being posted and right before the gag order was issued, but stayed up on Trump’s website until Thursday night, right after reports on social media emerged that it was still online.
At the start of trial on Friday, Engoron called the post being left up a “blatant violation of the gag order,” as quoted by the Messenger, and asked Trump’s lawyers to explain why it shouldn’t result in “serious sanctions,” including fines or potential imprisonment.
Trump attorney Christopher Kise told the judge that the post being left up was an “inadvertent” mistake due to Trump’s “very large [campaign] operation,” ABC News reports.
Engoron said he would take the issue under advisement, but added he “want[s] to make clear that Donald Trump is still responsible for the large machine, even if it is a large machine,” according to ABC.