On Friday, Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over President Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial in New York, raised the possibility of putting the 45th president in jail.
Judge Engoron raised the possibility of imprisonment after Trump failed to comply with a partial gag order requiring him to remove a post that disparaged the judge’s law clerk on social media.
During a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday, Trump called the gag order unconstitutional and told his supporters that he was willing to go to jail if necessary.
Trump: “I am willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes for our country to win.” pic.twitter.com/F2vTBSaCYt
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) October 16, 2023
From NBC News:
Judge Arthur Engoron said in court on Friday morning that Trump had posted on his social media account “an untrue and disparaging post about my clerk” and that he spoke to the former president about the matter.
“I ordered him to remove the post immediately and he said he did take it down,” Engoron said.
He continued, “Despite this order, last night I learned the offending post was never removed from a website. This is a blatant violation of the gag order. I made it clear [that] failure to comply will result in serious sanctions.”
Engoron said the post, however, remained on Trump’s 2024 campaign website for 17 days and was removed late Thursday night after the court emailed him. The judge imposed the limited gag order in early October.
“Incendiary untruths can and have led to serious physical harm. I will now allow the defendant to explain why this should not end up with serious sanctions or I could possibly imprison him,” Engoron said.
In response to Judge Engoron’s remarks, President Trump’s defense attorney, Chris Kise said, “Based on my understanding this was truly inadvertent.”
He also said that the post was taken down when the court asked and Trump never made any more comments about court staff. But nobody took it down from the campaign website.
Kise called it unfortunate and apologized on behalf of his client.
Engoron said he would take Trump’s lawyer’s remarks “under advisement” and issue and ruling later. He added that Trump is still responsible for what appears on his campaign website.
Despite the threat, it is unlikely that Engoron will jail President Trump because it will galvanize the MAGA crowd behind him and all but guarantee his victory in the presidential election in 2024.