Trump Gag Order Reimposed by New York Appeals Court

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
November 30, 2023Donald Trump
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Trump Gag Order Reimposed by New York Appeals Court
Former President Donald Trump exits the courtroom after testifying at his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York on Nov. 6, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

An appeals court in New York has upheld the gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump by Judge Arthur Engoron, rejecting the former president’s bid to avoid restrictions on his freedom to speak about his trial that he has denounced as politically-motivated.

In an order issued on Nov. 30, a four-judge panel of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, overturned a temporary suspension of the gag order, which was initially imposed by Judge Engeron on Oct. 3.

The newly reimposed gag order prohibits President Trump from making public statements about Judge Engoron’s staff after documents filed with the appeals court showed that the judge and his staff had purportedly received hundreds of threatening messages.

Judge Engoron, who is presiding over President Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York, initially imposed the gag order in early October after President Trump accused the judge’s top clerk of political bias in a post on social media.

An appeals court judge temporarily paused the gag order on Nov. 16 while the former president appealed the order.

President Trump has not publicly commented on the latest development and his campaign did not immediately respond to a query from The Epoch Times.

However, President Trump’s attorneys earlier criticized the gag order as a violation of his freedom of speech.

NTD Photo
Justice Arthur Engoron presides over the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump at New York State Supreme Court, in New York City, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Jeenah Moon/Pool/Getty Images)

Background

A day after President Trump’s trial began in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the former president made a Truth Social post about Allison Greenfield, Judge Engoron’s principal law clerk.

The post included a screenshot of a photo of her posing with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a political event, with President Trump labeling Ms. Greenfield as a Democratic Party loyalist.

“Schumer’s girlfriend, Allison R. Greenfield, is running this case against me. How Disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately,” President Trump wrote in the post, which he subsequently deleted after Judge Engoron was made aware of the post and issued a verbal gag order in court on the same day.

However, President Trump was later fined $5,000 after Judge Engoron was informed that one of the former president’s campaign websites retained a page archiving the original Truth Social post. The former president was then fined another $10,000 when he mentioned in remarks to the press a “partisan” person sitting “alongside” the judge, although he didn’t identify the person by name.

Later, Judge Engoron expanded the gag order to include President Trump’s attorneys, prohibiting them from making statements about the judge’s staff or about communications between himself and his staff members.

Gag Order Pause

After President Trump’s attorneys filed an appeal to have the gag order lifted, the New York appeals court temporarily suspended the order on Nov. 16.

“Considering the constitutional and statutory rights at issue an interim stay is granted,” New York Appellate Division Associate Judge David Friedman wrote in the decision.

Judge Friedman questioned Judge Engoron’s authority to restrict President Trump’s speech outside the courtroom, noting that gag orders are normally issued in criminal cases where the defendant’s public statements might sway the jury.

After the gag order was temporarily lifted, President Trump swiftly reacted by criticizing Judge Engoron and his clerk.

“His Ridiculous and Unconstitutional Gag Order, not allowing me to defend myself against him and his politically biased and out of control, Trump Hating Clerk, who is sinking him and his Court to new levels of LOW, is a disgrace,” President Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social on Nov. 17.

Judge Engoron, a Democrat, argued that his gag order against President Trump was needed because of alleged attacks and threats against his staffers.

The threats were made to the office of Judge Engoron, according to an affidavit that was attached to a Nov. 22 court filing, which states that there’s been a “deluge” of threatening messages to the court’s chambers phone and the personal cell phone, email, and social media accounts of Ms. Greenfield.

Threats

Charles Hollon, the court officer with the New York Department of Public Safety, wrote in the affidavit that Ms. Greenfield’s personal information, including her personal cell phone number and personal email addresses had been compromised “resulting in daily doxing.”

“She has been subjected to, on a daily basis, harassing, disparaging comments, and antisemitic tropes,” Mr. Hollon added.

While the affidavit doesn’t include the threatening messages allegedly made against Ms. Greenfield, it does include transcripts of menacing voicemails left on Judge Engoron’s chambers telephone.

“You should be assassinated. You should be killed,” reads one message.

“Arthur, you are a corrupt Nazi and one of the ugliest people to ever walk the face of the earth. And your clerk, who’s also [a] corrupt Nazi is a fat [expletive] who [expletive] Chuck Schumer and everybody knows it,” reads another. “You are such a lowlife.”

Mr. Hollon wrote that threats against Judge Engoron and Ms. Greenfield can be deemed “serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative,” and that the messages received by the judge and his staff “created an ongoing security risk for the judge, his staff and his family.”

He added that the flood of threatening messages had caused the judicial threats assessment unit to have to constantly reassess what security protections should be put in place to ensure the safety of the judge and people around him.

In the civil fraud case against President Trump, Ms. James, a Democrat, has alleged that he and his company, The Trump Organization, defrauded banks, insurers, and others by allegedly overvaluing his assets and exaggerated his net worth on paperwork that was used in deals and to secure loans.

President Trump has pleaded not guilty and has accused Ms. James of waging a politically-motivated prosecution meant to derail his 2024 presidential campaign. He is currently by far the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

From The Epoch Times

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