Former US President Donald Trump faces a potential contempt charge as a United States judge, Justice Arthur Engoron, has sternly warned him of the consequences for violating a gag order. The issue stems from Trump’s failure to retract disparaging comments he made about court staff, particularly a clerk for the judge, through a social media post.
Justice Engoron declared on Friday that Trump had defied his orders to remove what he termed an “untrue and disparaging” post about the clerk, which had been a clear requirement of an earlier gag order. According to reports from NBC, the judge expressed his frustration, stating, “I ordered him to remove the post immediately, and he said he did take it down. 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.”
The potential sanctions Trump faces are serious, including fines or even imprisonment for this infringement. This legal trouble compounds his already mounting legal challenges as he pursues a bid to regain the White House in 2024, where he remains a clear frontrunner in the ongoing Republican presidential primaries.
Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, tried to downplay the situation, characterizing the failure to remove the social media post as “truly inadvertent.” Notably, a spokesperson for New York state Attorney General Letitia James, who initiated the case, declined to comment on the matter.
Throughout his legal battles, Trump has consistently portrayed them as a “witch hunt” aimed at stifling his political ambitions, including his efforts to contest the 2020 election results. In a bizarre development, on Friday, Trump posted an image on the social media platform Truth Social, depicting a drawing of Jesus Christ seated alongside him in the court.
This current showdown began on October 3 when Justice Engoron initially imposed the gag order after Trump shared a picture of a social media post by one of the judge’s clerks alongside Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who had no involvement in the case, referring to her as “Schumer’s girlfriend.” Trump’s lawyer, Kise, acknowledged that the post had been removed from social media but not from Trump’s campaign website, saying, “It appears no one took it down on the campaign website. It is unfortunate, and I apologize on behalf of my client.”