After another gag order fine, Trump storms out of court: The former president surprised his own attorneys by storming out of court on Wednesday.
Donald Trump Is in Trouble
Former President Donald Trump, for the second time in a week, was fined Wednesday for violating his gag order in his New York civil fraud trial. And not long afterward, Trump stunned observers by storming out of the courtroom.
According to CNN, New York Judge Arthur Engoron fined the former president $10,000 after “appearing to reference a court clerk in comments made outside the courtroom.” Trump had been barred from saying anything critical of the judge’s staff, and Trump had reportedly violated that rule by referencing the clerk.
Trump was actually made to take the stand in the matter and said he was referenced Michael Cohen, a witness in the case, who is not covered by the gag order, but the judge said he didn’t believe the former president, CNN said. Trump’s time on the witness stand only lasted for about three minutes.
Per the New York Times, it was Trump’s first time testifying in open court in more than a decade, dating back to before his first presidential campaign.
It was after this that Trump stormed out of court.
“After Justice Engoron issued the fine, the trial resumed, with Mr. Trump’s lawyers prompting Mr. Cohen to admit that he had lied on past occasions,” the Times said. “Soon, another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Clifford S. Robert, called for an immediate verdict, given Mr. Cohen’s contradictions. Justice Engoron denied the request, and Mr. Trump slid his chair back and stormed out of the courtroom.”
Trump had been fined $5,000 less than a week earlier for leaving a negative statement about the same clerk on his campaign website.
There was a surprising development Wednesday related to Trump’s other gag order, in his Washington federal election interference case. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization not usually accustomed to siding with Trump, did so, declaring that the Washington gag order is unconstitutional.
“The obvious and unprecedented public interest in this prosecution, as well as the widespread political speech that it has generated and will continue to generate, only underscores the need to apply the most stringent First Amendment standard to a restraint on Defendant’s speech rights,” the ACLU stated in a “friend of the court” brief this week, as cited by Politico.
“Reading the order, Defendant cannot possibly know what he is permitted to say, and what he is not,” the organization added.
The ACLU, per Politico, seemed aware that its support of Donald Trump in this particular instance may be a surprise.
“Defendant’s role in the events related to his obstruction of the peaceful transition of power are relevant not only to the proceedings in this Court but to the country’s decision about whether he deserves to be elected again,” the ACLU’s brief says. “Much that he has said has been patently false and has caused great harm to countless individuals, as well as to the Republic itself. Some of his words and actions have led him to this criminal indictment, which alleges grave wrongdoing in contempt of the peaceful transition of power.”
The ACLU brief was only in the federal case and did not pertain to the New York civil case.
Writing last week, Jeffrey Toobin stated that the gag order in the Washington case “could save lives.”
“It’s equally important to ask how Mr. Trump’s response to his latest predicament will affect others, especially those who are now targets of his wrath,” Toobin wrote in The New York Times.
“Mr. Trump is appealing at least one of the orders, but even if he abides by them, which is by no means certain, the directives do not prohibit the vast range of threats and attacks Mr. Trump has made and shows every sign of continuing to make. The former president’s current language represents an imminent threat to his rhetorical targets and those around them.”
Author Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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