Judge Warns of Contempt Charges Against Donald Trump Over Non-Compliance With Court Order

by Sophia Chen
Contempt of Court

The presiding judge in Donald Trump’s civil fraud case, Judge Arthur Engoron, issued a stern warning last Friday, stating he could find the former U.S. president in contempt of court. The admonishment stems from Trump’s failure to remove a derogatory social media post aimed at a senior member of the judge’s staff, even after it was explicitly ordered to be deleted.

Engoron noted that retaining the post on Trump’s campaign website was a “flagrant breach” of the court order he had issued on October 3. The judicial directive, imposed shortly after Trump disseminated the post on the second day of the trial, prohibited him and others involved in the litigation from making personal attacks against members of Engoron’s staff.

Although Judge Engoron refrained from immediately imposing sanctions against Trump, who is a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, he emphasized that inflammatory remarks can have harmful consequences in the current politically charged environment.

Trump was absent from the courtroom last Friday but has consistently targeted Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who initiated the lawsuit, outside of trial sessions. The judge’s gag order does not extend to comments about Engoron and James.

Christopher Kise, Trump’s attorney, attributed the oversight to the “complex machinery” of Trump’s presidential campaign. However, Engoron was unswayed, asserting that ultimate responsibility lies with Trump himself, irrespective of who within his campaign was at fault for failing to remove the post.

After listening to Kise’s explanation about the technical reasons for the post’s continued presence online, Engoron stated, “I will consider this matter carefully. Nevertheless, Donald Trump remains accountable for the actions of his organization, regardless of its size.”

The judge had previously issued a limited gag order barring trial participants from making defamatory statements about court staff after Trump publicly insulted the judge’s chief law clerk. The contentious post featured a photo of the law clerk with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and accused her of misconduct. Trump did delete the post from his Truth Social platform, but a copied version of the message was sent in an email blast and subsequently archived on his campaign website.

New York judicial statutes permit judges to levy fines or impose jail time for contempt of court. Last year, Engoron fined Trump $110,000 for a tardy response to a subpoena in a related investigation.

The lawsuit, led by Attorney General James, accuses Trump and his business empire of fraudulent activities targeted at banks and insurers. Although Engoron has already ruled that fraud was committed, the trial is ongoing and focuses on remaining allegations, such as conspiracy and falsifying records.

The case continues to generate headlines, especially with the anticipated testimonies of Trump’s close associates and family members in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump is battling a subpoena for her deposition, with a hearing scheduled for next week to resolve the dispute.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Contempt of Court

What is the main reason Judge Arthur Engoron warned Donald Trump of contempt?

Judge Arthur Engoron warned Donald Trump of potential contempt charges due to Trump’s failure to remove a derogatory social media post aimed at a senior member of Engoron’s judicial staff. The post remained on Trump’s campaign website even after a court order explicitly directed its removal.

Who initiated the civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump?

The civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump was initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The lawsuit accuses Trump and his company of fraudulent activities involving banks and insurers.

What did Donald Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, say about the oversight?

Christopher Kise attributed the oversight to the “complex machinery” of Trump’s presidential campaign. He called it an “unintentional oversight” and pleaded ignorance to the technological complexities involved in disseminating Trump’s social media posts.

What could be the possible sanctions against Donald Trump for contempt of court?

New York law allows judges to impose fines or even imprisonment as a form of punishment for contempt of court. Last year, Judge Engoron fined Trump $110,000 for tardiness in responding to a subpoena.

Who are expected to testify in the ongoing civil fraud trial?

Donald Trump and his two eldest sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., are expected to testify in the coming weeks. Ivanka Trump is also battling a subpoena for her testimony, with a hearing set for next week.

What does the current trial focus on apart from the already established fraud?

While Judge Engoron has already ruled that fraud was committed by Trump and his company, the ongoing trial focuses on additional allegations, such as conspiracy, insurance fraud, and the falsification of business records.

Is Ivanka Trump a defendant in this case?

Ivanka Trump was initially a defendant but was later removed from the case by an appeals court in June. The court ruled that the claims against her were outside the statute of limitations. She is currently fighting a subpoena for her testimony.

More about Contempt of Court

  • New York Attorney General’s Office
  • Contempt of Court in New York
  • Legal Provisions for Civil Fraud in New York
  • The Role of a Presiding Judge in Civil Trials
  • What Constitutes Contempt of Court?
  • Donald Trump’s Legal Battles

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SaraJ October 20, 2023 - 6:48 pm

Not surprised about this at all. Seems par for the course with Trump’s history of legal issues.

Paul_Invests October 20, 2023 - 11:36 pm

I can’t believe that with all the resources Trump has, they couldn’t remove a simple post. Oversight or not, it’s a big deal.

ConcernedCitizen October 21, 2023 - 2:58 am

the judiciary needs to keep a strong stance on such issues, good on Judge Engoron for holding people accountable.

CryptoLawyer October 21, 2023 - 5:38 am

Judges taking social media into account now, thats new. The legal landscape is surely changing.

FinanceGuru October 21, 2023 - 6:54 am

With the upcoming 2024 elections, this trial could have massive implications, not just legally but politically too.

JohnDoe42 October 21, 2023 - 1:38 pm

Wow, this situation is really heating up, isnt it? Trump might face contempt charges, thats no small thing.

EmilyS October 21, 2023 - 5:32 pm

So, the judge already fined Trump last year? Doesn’t look good for him this time around either.


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