Judge in NY fraud trial threatens Trump with sanctions again, saying the ex-president's latest comments were a 'blatant' violation of the gag order

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  • The judge in Donald Trump's New York fraud trial has threatened the former president with sanctions again.

  • He verbally attacked a law clerk in what the judge called a "blatant" violation of his gag order.

  • "I'm very protective of my staff," the judge said.

The judge in Donald Trump's New York fraud trial has threatened the former president with sanctions – again – after he verbally attacked the judge's law clerk for a second time in what the judge is now calling a "blatant" and "dangerous" repeat violation of his gag order.

The last time the judge admonished Trump for a gag-order violation – fining him $5,000 just five days ago – he warned the former president that if he did it again, he would risk additional fines, a contempt of court ruling, and even imprisonment.

Speaking with apparent anger and impatience in his Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday, the judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, read from an Associated Press story that quoted something Trump had just said during a mid-morning break in testimony by key state witness Michael Cohen.

"This judge is a very partisan judge," Trump was quoted by the AP as saying, "with a person who is very partisan sitting right beside him, perhaps even more partisan than he is." Engoron's principle law clerk, Allison Greenfield, sits some three feet to the judge's right.

"I'm very protective of my staff," the judge said. "I don't want anybody killed," he said, emphasizing the word.

"I'll ask again," the judge then told Trump's lawyers, who sat with Trump at the defense table. "Why should there not be severe sanctions for this blatant, dangerous, disobeyment of a judicial order?"

The judge did not ask Trump's lawyers for an immediate answer to that question, although the team's lead defense attorney, Christopher Kise, raised the possibility that Trump was referring to Cohen, whose seat on the witness stand is some ten feet to the judge's left.

Instead, Trump's former fixer, Cohen was brought back into the courtroom for a continuation of his cross-examination by Trump's lawyer Alina Habba.

"By 'the person sitting alongside of him,'" the judge said, sounding skeptical of Kise's theory as Cohen was summoned back to the courtroom, "how I would interpret that is my principle law clerk."

Engoron had issued the limited gag order – barring anyone in the case from publicly disparaging any member of his legal team — on October 3, during the first week of trial.

The gag was necessary, the judge explained at the time, because Trump had repeatedly "disparaged"  the law clerk on social media, falsely calling her "Schumer's girlfriend."


Read the original article on Business Insider