A New York appellate court has reinstated gag orders preventing Donald Trump and his legal team from making public statements against a courthouse staff involved in the civil fraud trial.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron emphasized the rigorous enforcement of these orders, including a separate one imposed on Trump’s lawyers.
Tragic rule of law
Trump’s lead attorney, Christopher Kise, expressed disappointment, calling it a “tragic day for the rule of law.” Kise argued that Trump’s First Amendment rights were being violated, preventing him from commenting on what he perceived as an unfair trial.
NY Appellate Court prohibition
The gag orders by the appellate court specifically prohibit commentary on the judge’s staff but do not restrict criticism of the judge or the trial’s fairness. Despite this, Trump has often used social media to criticize the judge and New York Attorney General Letitia James without violating the orders.
A federal appellate court in Washington, D.C., is deliberating on a separate order barring Trump from attacking witnesses in a criminal case related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump attacks despite gag order
During Trump’s civil fraud trial, he falsely claimed on Truth Social that the judge’s clerk had a connection to a prominent Democratic politician, leading to a gag order. The judge found Trump in violation twice, resulting in $15,000 in penalties and an expanded order preventing references to confidential communications with the clerk.
Despite a temporary stay during the appeal, Trump resumed attacks on the clerk, leading to a court security officer reporting “hundreds” of threatening messages. Shockingly, callers used profanity and anti-Semitic tropes against the clerk and the judge.
Legal experts, like former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner, suggest that this move signals the likelihood of the gag orders remaining in effect, indicating a potential turning point in the legal battle.
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