NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump was fined $5,000 on Friday after a disparaging social media post about a key court staffer in his New York civil fraud case was allowed to linger on his campaign website after the judge ordered it deleted.
Judge Arthur Engoron avoided holding Trump in contempt, for now, but reserved the right to do so — and possibly even put him in jail — if he continued to violate a gag order barring parties in the case from personal attacks on court staff.
Engoron said in a written ruling that he is “way beyond the ‘warning’ stage,” but decided on a nominal fine because Trump’s lawyers said the website’s retention of the post was inadvertent and was a “first time violation.”
Earlier, an incensed Engoron said the failure to delete the post from the website was a “blatant violation” of his Oct. 3 order, which required Trump to delete the offending message.
Trump lawyer Christopher Kise blamed the “very large machine” of Trump’s presidential campaign for allowing his deleted social media post to remain on his website, calling it an unintentional oversight.
Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, wasn’t in court Friday. He’d returned to the trial Tuesday and Wednesday after attending the first three days in early October, but skipped the rest of the week.