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Trump Took the Witness Stand Yesterday--and Was Fined $10,000

In the civil trial brought by NY AG Letitia James about Donald Trump's business practices, Trump surprisingly took the witness stand yesterday as people in the room gasped. Earlier in the day, Trump had said: "This judge is a very partisan judge with a person who's very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is." Judge Arthur Engoron ordered him to the stand to ask: "To whom were you referring?" Trump replied: "You and [Michael] Cohen."

Engoron didn't believe it and suspected Trump was referring to his law clerk, Allison Greenfield, who sits next to the judge during the trial. Trump had already been warned not to attack the judge or his staff, so Engoron fined him $10,000 for violating the court order. This is the second fine. The first one was $5,000. If the judge doubles it every time, it will take nine violations before it hits a million dollars. For Trump, a fine of even a million dollars is not actually a big deal, especially if he refuses to pay it. Of course, Engoron is likely to consider a more geometric approach if this keeps happening, and if Trump doesn't pay up, he could well become the first former president to spend a night (or several) behind bars. Of course, Trump is accustomed to free government housing, so it isn't such a big deal. (V)

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