10

For a 2nd time, Donald Trump is being sued by E. Jean Carroll for defamation charges relating to his ongoing defamatory actions towards her.

The 1st lawsuit relating to these litigants occurred in May 2023 and resulted in a jury finding Trump liable to the tune of $5 million.

This 2nd lawsuit relates to defamatory comments Trump has continued to make against Carroll since the conclusion of the 1st lawsuit. Carroll's lawyer has asked jurors to consider 'how much money it will take to get [Trump] to stop [making defamatory remarks]."

Given that since the start of this new trial, Trump has continued to make defamatory statements against Carroll in extremely public ways, can a judge in a civil trial impose an order along with damages that would incur criminal contempt charges if Trump were to continue to make defamatory statements? Or would Carroll simply need to keep suing him?

1 Answer 1

21

Can a civil court impose criminal contempt charges?

Yes.

can a judge in a civil trial impose an order along with damages that would incur criminal contempt charges if Trump were to continue to make defamatory statements?

The court can impose an order directing him not to make the defamatory statement.

A violation of a court order can be imposed in a contempt of court proceeding in the case in which it was entered. See New York Civil Practice Law and Rules § 5104, which states:

Enforcement of judgment or order by contempt.

Any interlocutory or final judgment or order, or any part thereof, not enforceable under either article fifty-two or section 5102 may be enforced by serving a certified copy of the judgment or order upon the party or other person required thereby or by law to obey it and, if he refuses or wilfully neglects to obey it, by punishing him for a contempt of the court.

The penalties for being criminally in contempt of court are set forth in New York State Judiciary Law § 751. The general process for contempt of court proceedings, which is quite involved and rather complicated, is set forth in Article 19 of the New York State Judicial Law §§ 750-781.

Note that the court is not limited to imposing fines. It can also punish contempt of court with incarceration.

2
  • It might be good to clarify that criminal contempt of court requires a criminal trial, with all the rights that go along with that (right to jury trial, Gideon, etc.). A judge can impose incarceration for civil contempt, but only for as long as the person continues to disobey the order. Jan 24 at 4:13
  • 1
    @Acccumulation I wouldn't agree that the process for criminal contempt of court is the same as for an ordinary criminal offense in NYS. It isn't commenced by indictment. It is often prosecuted by a party rather than a government prosecutor. There isn't always a right to a jury trial. There is heavy overlap, but it isn't the same.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 24 at 4:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .