Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The judge overseeing Donald Trump's $250 million civil fraud trial defended his decision to impose a $10,000 fine on the former president for violating a gag order that bars him from disparaging or threatening court staff.
On Wednesday, Judge Engoron challenged Trump on comments he had made earlier in the day.
"Did you say, 'This judge is a very partisan judge with a person who is very partisan sitting alongside of him?'" Engoron asked Trump when he took the stand.
Trump confirmed the statement but insisted he was referring to witness Michael Cohen, and not the law clerk Allison Greenfield, who was sitting beside Engoron, but the judge did not accept that explanation.
Engoron pointed out that "there's a barrier" that separates the judge's bench from the witness stand.
Ultimately Engoron fined Trump $10,000 for the violation.
"Using imprecise language as an excuse to create plausible ambiguity about whether defendant violated this Court's unequivocal gag order is not a defense," Judge Engoron said Thursday in a written order explaining the $10,000 fine.
"Quite clearly, defendant was referring, once again, to my Principal Law Clerk, who sits alongside me on the bench," Engoron said.
On Thursday, Trump attorney Chris Kise asked Judge Arthur Engoron to reconsider the fine. Erngoron said he would review footage of Trump's Wednesday statement.
Kise argued the gag order was a violation of Trump's right to free speech, saying "the defendant has a First Amendment right to comment on what he sees and perceives as a potential source of bias."
Kise also said he did not think the gag order would survive "constitutional scrutiny."
After reviewing the footage, Engoron affirmed his previous decision. saying "I think the person he originally referred to is very clear."
On Thursday, Trump continued to disparage Engoron on social media, calling him a "radical left judge who should not be handling the FAKE & FULLY DISCREDITED CASE brought against me by the New York State A.G."