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Trump risks violating gag order with public criticisms of judge

By CM Chaney · October 27, 2023

In brief…

  • Trump attacked judge and AG in Truth Social posts after $10K gag fine
  • Claimed judge found him guilty before trial, is protecting "racist" AG
  • Follows courtroom exit after questioning of Cohen, who contradicted past testimony
  • Judge denied dismissal, said ample evidence; Trump wanted case tossed
  • Trump and prosecution both sought pre-trial summary judgments
After being fined $10,000 for violating his New York fraud trial gag order when testifying, Donald Trump again risked violating it with Truth Social posts attacking the judge and attorney general.  Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia

Donald Trump risked violating his New York fraud trial gag order again with Truth Social posts attacking the judge and state Attorney General Letitia James Thursday morning.

Hours after taking the stand and being fined $10,000, Trump claimed “radical left” Judge Arthur Engoron found him “guilty before the trial even started, and long before he had the real facts.”

Trump said the judge “doesn’t care” and is “trying to protect RACIST A.G. Letitia James.” He also described former lawyer Michael Cohen as “collapsing and choking yesterday under cross-examination, and completely admitting that I did nothing wrong.”

The outburst followed Special Counsel Jack Smith demanding stricter sanctions in the January 6 case.

It came after Trump’s dramatic courtroom exit Wednesday, shortly after being fined again for violating the gag order. That occurred after lawyer Clifford Robert questioned Trump fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen, who testified Trump did not direct him to inflate property values.

Robert argued the admission contradicting Cohen’s prior testimony warranted dismissal. But Judge Engoron denied and said the case had ample evidence, not considering Cohen a “key witness.”

Asked to explain his courtroom comment, Trump said he was blasting Cohen, not the judge’s clerk. The original post leading to the gag order called the clerk Sen. Charles Schumer’s “girlfriend.”

Engoron called Trump’s explanation “not credible” and kept the $10,000 fine in place after a reconsideration request.

In his posts, Trump claimed the judge ruled against him before trial and should dismiss the “RIGGED WITCH HUNT” given Cohen’s admission. Both sides actually sought pre-trial summary judgments, with Engoron finding fraud.