New York, United States, Oct 20 (EFE).- The judge presiding over the business fraud trial against the Trump Organization and former president Donald Trump in New York on Friday fined him $5,000 and also threatened him with jail time for violating a “gag order.”
Judge Arthur Engoron issued the gag order on Oct. 2, prohibiting Trump from posting messages about court personnel after he published a fake photo of his secretary with a personal attack on Truth Social.
Although the former president deleted the post from his social media platform, a copy remained on his campaign website until last night.
Engoron, who called Trump’s message about his secretary “untrue, disparaging and personally identifying,” said he learned Thursday that it remained visible on the campaign website for 17 days.
The message was removed only after the court issued a notice saying it considered the image a flagrant violation of the gag order, according to the document released by the Justice Department.
The small fine Trump received – especially for someone of his wealth – is explained by the judge considering the violation “inadvertent” and a first strike.
However, the release adds: “Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include, but are not limited to steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possible incarceration…”
Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, assured that it was an oversight and apologized on behalf of his client, explaining that he removed the publication from Truth Social but no one took care of the website.
The judge replied that he would keep it in mind, but also that the former president is responsible for the “great machinery” under his command.
Trump is accused, along with two of his sons and two executives of the Trump Organization, of inflating the value of the company’s assets for years, to obtain favorable terms with banks and insurance companies.
Engoron has already summarily ruled that he is responsible for the charge of continuous fraud.
The former president personally appeared in court for several days, during which he took the opportunity to address the media and attack the case, the New York District Attorney’s Office, and the judge himself.
All of which he considers part of a “witch hunt” orchestrated by the Democratic Party to interfere with his political campaign.
In this civil lawsuit, several charges of fraud will be settled, such as falsification of documents, damages estimated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at 250 million dollars, and the veto of his companies in New York, although the judge has already ordered the suspension of their business licenses in the state.
The New York “gag order” against Trump was followed by another one imposed by a judge in the criminal case he faces in Washington DC, related to interference in the last elections, which prohibits him from talking about potential witnesses or disqualify prosecutors. EFE