New York appeals court reinstates gag order against Donald Trump in civil fraud trial

Gag order against Donald Trump: An appellate court has reinstated the gag order which barred the former president Donald Trump and attorneys from making statements to the public about the court’s staff during the civil fraud trial currently underway.

Judge Arthur Engoron originally issued the order that barred Trump to make public comments about the court’s staff following a time when Trump made a number of remarks about a clerk whom Trump believes is biased towards Trump.

Hundreds of threats made against Engoron and the attorney were released in the last week. The clerk for Engoron has been receiving twenty to thirty calls a day on her personal cell phone as well as 30-50 daily messages on social media and 2 personal emails, as per court documents.

The appeals court temporarily halted the gag order earlier in the month and on Thursday, it ruled it must be reinstated.

“Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon, It is ordered that the motion is denied; the interim relief granted by order of a Justice of this Court, dated November 16, 2023, is hereby vacated,” the most recent appellate ruling states.

In the midst of a break in the trial on Thursday morning, Engoron made public the appeals court’s ruling that reinstated the gag decree.

“I will apply the gag orders firmly and with vigor. I’d like to ensure lawyers inform their customers about this fact, that the stay has been lifted,” the judge said.

“It is a tragic day for the rule of law, but we’re aware,” Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise said.

“It is what it is,” Engoron replied.

In the initial months, Engoron fined Trump $15,000 for breaking the gag order. The judge extended the gag order — which originally included only the parties involved in the trial to include lawyers, after Trump’s lawyers questioned the clerk Allison Greenfield’s prominence in the courtroom, where she is seated alongside the judge, collaborating with him and giving him advice during the trial.

Trump’s lawyers have filed the suit against Engoron in protest of the gag order as a misuse of power.

State lawyers were trying to link Trump’s remarks to an increase in messages and calls addressed to the judges as well as the law clerk.

A court security officer made a sworn declaration this week that Greenfield is receiving 20-30 calls a day on her personal cell phone, and 30-50 messages per day via the social networks, LinkedIn and to two personal email addresses.

The captain said she Greenfield received enough abusive voicemails to create a transcript of the equivalent of 275 pages single-spaced, and around half of the threatening and demeaning messages sent to her were antisemitic.

Trump’s lawyers had said that although messages and calls are “vile and reprehensible,” Trump shouldn’t be censored due to other people’s poor behaviour. Trump has never advocated violence against Greenfield or his lawyers, and neither did he or his legal team ever condone or encourage threats or harassment, the lawyers stated in a court filing.

They claimed their case that the gag rule violated the right of free speech: gag order against Donald Trump 

“As the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and as a citizen on trial, President Trump is well within his rights to comment on what he perceives as bias,” Trump’s lawyers have written.

The order was put in limbo, Trump posted about Greenfield on Wednesday, in reference to Greenfield’s “very disturbed and angry law clerk.”

Trump will be a witness in the case again on December. 11.


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