In a dramatic turn of events, former U.S. President Donald Trump stormed out of a New York courtroom after being fined $10,000 for breaching a gag order prohibiting him from personally attacking court staff in his ongoing fraud trial.
The fine came after Mr. Trump was called to the witness stand to explain comments he made outside the courtroom regarding a “partisan” individual sitting alongside the judge.
The contentious situation dates back to a narrow gag order imposed on October 3, following Mr. Trump’s social media post targeting the judge’s principal law clerk, who sits next to Judge Arthur Engoron in court.
Although Trump eventually removed the post, it remained on his campaign website, resulting in a $5,000 fine.
During a trial recess on a lawsuit related to Mr. Trump’s business practices, he made public comments characterizing Judge Engoron as “a very partisan judge” and suggesting that someone seated next to him was even more partisan.
Judge Engoron deemed this a “blatant” violation of the gag order, assuming the comments were about his clerk.
Trump and his legal team argued that the remarks pertained to witness Michael Cohen, not the clerk, but the judge and his clerks remained unconvinced.
Michael Cohen, a key witness in the New York attorney general Letitia James’ civil case against Trump, denied being directed by Trump to inflate financial numbers on his personal statement.
When Trump’s lawyers requested a directed verdict, the judge denied their request, leading to an unexpected and swift exit by the former president from the courtroom.
Secret Service agents scrambled to follow him, and the sudden departure surprised not only the attorneys but also those present in the courtroom.
Mr. Trump maintains his innocence, alleging that Letitia James is pursuing him for partisan reasons. The trial continues to be a focal point of media attention and political scrutiny.
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