You may recall that Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing the civil case against Donald Trump and his two elder sons for business fraud in New York, issued a partial gag order against Trump. Specifically, he was angry that Trump had posted a lie on his Truth Social media site accusing his principal law clerk Allison Greenfield of having an adulterous affair with Chuck Schumer. Engoron demanded that the post be deleted and ruled that anyone who posted about his staff in the future would face sanctions. The post was promptly deleted from Truth Social, but the Meidas Touch website reported on Thursday that the post remained up at Trump’s website. There were consequences in court on Friday.
A Manhattan judge tore into former President Donald Trump on Friday for failing to delete a post attacking his clerk on his campaign page, weeks after the imposition of a gag order.
“I learned that the subject offending post was never removed from the donaldjtrump.com and in fact, has been on the website for the past 17 days,” New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron remarked from the bench, asking why Trump shouldn’t face “serious sanctions” for his “blatant violation of the gag order,” such as fines or “possibly imprisoning him.”
Trump’s lawyer explained it was an oversight resulting from cross-posting, which is actually plausible depending on details. But, if so, it was a pretty severe oversight.
Those predictions bore out on Friday, at least rhetorically. Engoron gave Trump’s defense team an opportunity to explain what happened, and the attorney general’s office declined to make any statements in open court.
But the judge was clearly furious. The target of Trump’s post, Greenfield, sat beside Engoron, who noted that in this “current overheated climate,” messages like the one the former president posted could lead, and has led, to “serious physical harm and worse.”
After Trump’s lawyers provided their account of what transpired, Engoron and Greenfield whispered to each other and left the development on a cliffhanger. Engoron said he would take the matter “under advisement.”
Personally, I would sentence Trump to one day in jail for everyday the post remained up in defiance of the gag order–so 17 days in lockup with his Secret Service babysitters. But I doubt that Engeron will be that harsh for a first offense that may have genuinely been an inadvertent mistake.
We shall see.