A judge laced into Donald Trump on Friday, floating the possibility of heavy sanctions or even jail time against the former president, over a “blatant violation” of a partial gag order in his $250 million New York fraud trial.
An attorney for Trump apologized on his behalf, saying the violation was unintentional.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron had imposed a narrow gag order in the case earlier this month, after Trump sent a social media post attacking the judge’s law clerk.
Engoron at the time ordered that the Truth Social post be deleted, and he barred Trump and other parties in the case from making public statements about his staff.
But the post remained up on Trump’s website, donaldjtrump.com, for more than two weeks, archived screenshots of the page show.
The left-leaning website MeidasTouch published an article Thursday about the not-deleted post. The Daily Beast reported that that article led attorneys on both sides of the trial to be notified about the post, which was ultimately removed Thursday night.
“Last night I learned the offending post was never removed from a website,” Engoron said in court on Friday morning, NBC News reported.
“This is a blatant violation of the gag order. I made it clear failure to comply will result in serious sanctions,” he said. “It remained on the Donald J Trump campaign site and in fact it has been on there for the past 17 days, it was removed late last night after an email from this court.”
“Incendiary untruths can and have led to serious physical harm,” Engoron said. “I will now allow the defendant to explain why this should not end up with serious sanctions or I could possibly imprison him.”