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New York Judge Fines Trump $5K for Violating Gag Order in Civil Fraud Trial

A New York judge on Friday fined former President Donald Trump $5,000 for violating a partial gag order that the judge had imposed in the civil fraud trial stemming from New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into the Trump family's businesses.

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L - Former President Donald Trump R - New York Judge Arthur Engoron

The gag order prohibited Trump from making public statements about the case that could prejudice the jury. However, on February 17, 2023, Trump posted a message on his Truth Social account that was disparaging of the judge's principal clerk.

Trump's lawyers argued that the post was inadvertent and that Trump had removed it as soon as he learned of it. However, the judge found that Trump had violated the gag order and imposed the $5,000 fine.

The judge also warned Trump that future violations of the gag order could result in more serious sanctions, including imprisonment.

The civil fraud trial is still ongoing and Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

James' lawsuit alleges that Trump and his children engaged in a decade-long scheme to inflate the value of their assets in order to obtain loans and other financial benefits. Trump has called the lawsuit a "witch hunt" and has accused James of being politically motivated.

The gag order was imposed in March 2023 after Trump criticized the judge on Truth Social. The judge said that Trump's comments were "an attempt to intimidate the judiciary" and that they could prejudice the jury.

The $5,000 fine is the first sanction that the judge has imposed on Trump for violating the gag order. However, the judge has warned Trump that future violations could result in more serious sanctions, including imprisonment.

The civil fraud trial is expected to last several weeks. If Trump is found guilty, he could be ordered to pay billions of dollars in damages.

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