A Manhattan judge, Donald J. Trump on Wednesday briefly ordered the witness stand, accusing a law writer of violating a gag order containing critical comments that appeared to be aimed at him, and later fined him $10,000.
Mr. The judge presiding over Trump’s civil fraud trial, Arthur F. Mr. Engoron sought an order barring him from conferring with court staff. Mr. Trump’s comments were directed not at the author he previously attacked, but at his former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen said he had mentioned a witness.
From the point of view of Mr. Trump, dressed in a navy suit and cutting back on his usual monologue, did not address the author, Alison Greenfield, when he said he “could be unfair, and I think she’s very biased against me.”
Mr. Trump left the stand after about three minutes. Justice Ngoron said he found the former president not credible and imposed the fine.
The episode is remarkable and totally unexpected: Mr. Although Trump has been engaged in his own defense outside the courtroom, he hasn’t testified in open court in a decade, and when he did, the judge found against him. It was a disturbing preview of what lay ahead for the four-time impeached former president, who is expected to testify later in a civil fraud trial.
Mr. The incident that put Trump on the stand came during a break in Wednesday’s case, when he called Judge Engron a partisan, a criticism allowed under the order. But Mr. Trump added: “There’s a very partisan person sitting with him. Perhaps more discriminating than him.
After the break, the judge said he was concerned the overheated environment could pose a real danger.
“I’m very protective of my staff,” Judge Engoron said, “I don’t want anyone to get killed.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Christopher M. Mr. Kiss, the former president testifying for the second day. Mr. Immediately after Trump’s opening remarks, Mr. He clearly referred to Cohen as a “discredited witness.”
The judge responded that the target of the comments appeared clear to him and called for a hearing.
Mr. Trump took the witness stand and faced the courtroom for a brief hearing from the judge. Judge Engoron asked if he had referred to Ms Greenfield as a “partisan” in the past and if he had always referred to Mr Cohen as “Michael Cohen”. His lawyers, from the defense table, Mr. Mr. Trump They assured the judge that they had more derogatory ways to refer to Cohen.
Judge Engoron last week Mr. Trump was fined $5,000 for comments he made about Ms. Greenfield, who the former president was barred from discussing after she attacked him on social media in the opening days of the investigation.
That first breach was something of a technicality: Ms. Although the comments about Greenfield have since been deleted from social media, they are Mr. It was also posted on Trump’s website and not removed for weeks.
In contrast, Mr. Trump made his statement Wednesday to reporters in the hall outside the courtroom, where he usually addresses television cameras. It proved the danger of the cake order for the former president, known for his spontaneous monologues attacking his opponents.
After Judge Engoron imposed the fine, the trial resumed and Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Cohen was forced to admit that he had lied on previous occasions. Soon, Mr. Another lawyer for Trump, Clifford S. Robert, Mr. Given Cohen’s contradictions, he called for an immediate verdict. Judge Engoron denied the request, and Mr. Trump leaned back in his chair and left the courtroom.
“The judge must conclude this investigation immediately,” he told reporters.
Nate Schweber Contributed report.