ormer President Donald Trump briefly testified under oath on Wednesday in his New York civil fraud trial, following a stern critique from the judge regarding a comment Trump made earlier in the day.
Judge Arthur Engoron then issued a $10,000 fine against Trump for what he deemed a violation of a limited gag order, which prohibited Trump from making inflammatory remarks about the court staff.
During a mid-morning break, Trump referred to the gathered press about “a person who is very partisan sitting alongside” Judge Engoron.
Former President Testifies, Receives $10,000 Fine in NY Court Dispute
The judge’s clerk, Allison Greenfield, usually sits right next to the judge, and often questioned attorneys from both sides during pretrial hearings. She has had many heated exchanges with Trump’s attorneys over the years.
Immediately after Trump’s remark, Engoron expressed dismay and mentioned it might have violated a limited gag order previously put in place after Trump made a derogatory social media post about Greenfield. Trump and others involved in the case were barred on October 3 from making public remarks about the judge’s staff.
During the court’s lunch break, after reporters were led out of the room, lawyers from both sides along with Trump remained inside for nearly an hour. When court resumed, Trump was immediately called to the stand, and sworn in. Engoron questioned him.
Trump acknowledged making the statement, but said it was about “you and Cohen.”
“You didn’t mean the person on the other side of me?” Engoron asked, referring to Greenfield.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Trump responded.
Soon after, Trump was allowed off the stand and Engoron issued him a $10,000 fine.
Attorneys for Trump protested, claiming Greenfield’s behavior was unusual for a law clerk.
Trump’s attorney Alina Habba mentioned she “does not like being yelled at by law clerks who did not earn the robe,” and stated Greenfield’s “influence on the bench is completely inappropriate and it should stop.”
Engoron countered that it’s his practice to consult with his law clerks.
“I value input from both my law clerks,” Engoron mentioned. “Every judge does things differently. I don’t know if others have them sit on the bench, that’s how I do things. I make the final decisions.”
This is the second time Trump has been fined since the gag order was established. He was fined $5,000 on October 20 because a replication of the since-deleted social media post that sparked the order had never been taken down from a campaign site.
Engoron implied Trump will be fined more if he breaks the gag order again.
“Do it again, it’ll be worse,” Engoron warned.
With information from CBS News