Former President Fined $15,000 for Violating Gag Order in Contentious Trial as Closing Arguments Are Denied

New York City — As the trial of former President Donald Trump continues in New York City, security concerns have loomed large. Threats targeting a top staffer of Judge Andrea Engoron arose after Trump accused her of political bias, prompting the judge to issue a gag order against the former president. Trump has already been fined $15,000 for violating the order on two occasions.

Recently, Engoron denied Trump’s request to present his own closing arguments, citing ground rules that prohibited him from using it as a platform for a “campaign speech.” Trump, upon his arrival at the court, once again criticized the trial as a “witch hunt” and expressed frustration over not being allowed to fully present his case. He mentioned his intention to hold a news conference following the conclusion of the hearing.

Amid tight security and a controlled entrance to the courthouse, James, a Democrat, received cheers and gratitude from onlookers as he arrived. Meanwhile, Trump, the Republican frontrunner for the upcoming election against President Joe Biden, maintained his innocence and decried the trial’s impact on his campaign. Despite the ongoing legal proceedings, Trump continues to hold a significant lead over other Republican contenders in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Facing four criminal prosecutions, including charges of attempting to unlawfully overturn the 2020 election results, Trump pleaded not guilty. However, the focus of this trial revolves around determining the amount of money Trump should relinquish as ill-gotten gains after Engoron found him liable for fraud in September. Engoron is expected to deliver the verdict without a jury at a later date. It is likely that Trump will appeal the decision, potentially causing a significant delay in reaching a final judgment.

Throughout the trial, state prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that Trump consistently exaggerated the value of his properties and assets prior to his entry into politics. Trump himself admitted to inaccuracies in property valuations during his testimony in November. In defense, Trump’s attorney argued that any alleged manipulation had no harmful consequences as banks and insurers still profited from their dealings with the Trump Organization.

Notably, the trial featured a tense encounter between Trump and his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who claimed that Trump instructed him to manipulate asset values. Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, also testified, with Ivanka highlighting her limited involvement in the business aspect. Ivanka is not among the defendants in the trial.

The courtroom drama in New York City encapsulates the high stakes for Trump, who seeks to regain the presidency. As the trial proceeds and the pledge to appeal any unfavorable verdict lingers, the outcome remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the trial sheds light on Trump’s business practices and presents a crucial chapter in his political journey.