The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial in New York raised the possibility on Friday of putting the former president in prison after Trump failed to comply with a partial gag order requiring him to remove a post trashing the judge’s law clerk on social media.
Judge Arthur Engoron said in court on Friday morning that Trump had posted on his social media account “an untrue and disparaging post about my clerk” and that he spoke to the former president about the matter.
“I ordered him to remove the post immediately and he said he did take it down,” Engoron said.
He continued, “Despite this order, last night I learned the offending post was never removed from a website. This is a blatant violation of the gag order. I made it clear [that] failure to comply will result in serious sanctions.”
Engoron said the post remained on Trump’s 2024 campaign website for 17 days and was removed late Thursday night after the court emailed him.
“Incendiary untruths can and have led to serious physical harm. I will now allow the defendant to explain why this should not end up with serious sanctions or I could possibly imprison him,” Engoron said.
In response, Trump’s defense attorney, Chris Kise said, “Based on my understanding this was truly inadvertent.”
“The Truth Social post was taken down when the court asked,” Kise said. “Truth Social was taken down and Trump never made any more comments about court staff, but it appears no one took it down on the campaign website. It is unfortunate and I apologize on behalf of my client.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com