The appeals court again upholds the gag order banning Trump from commenting on the judge’s staff

(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated Press)

The appeals court again upholds the gag order banning Trump from commenting on the judge’s staff


Dec. 14, 2023

A New York appeals court has reaffirmed a silence order banning former President Trump from commenting on court personnel in his civil fraud trial. On Thursday, it ruled that the former president’s lawyers used the wrong legal mechanism to fight the restriction.

A four-judge panel on the state’s mid-level appeals court ruled Thursday that Trump’s lawyers were convicted by suing Judge Arthur Engoron, who imposed the gag order in October after Trump discredited his law clerk.

Instead, the appellate judges wrote, Trump’s lawyers should have followed the normal appeals process by asking Engoron to overturn the silence order and then, if denied, challenge that decision in a higher court.

Trump attorney Christopher Kise said the decision denies his client the only available path to expedited relief and places his basic constitutional rights in procedural purgatory.

We filed the petition because the ordinary appeal is essentially meaningless in this context because it cannot possibly be completed in time to undo the ongoing harm, Kise said.

The appeals court ruling came a day after testimony wrapped up in New York’s two-month Atty trial. The Trial of General Letitia James. Closing arguments are scheduled for Jan. 11 in the case, which threatens Trump’s control over his real estate empire. Engoron said he hopes to have a verdict by the end of January.

Trump’s lawyers took Engoron to court last month, calling the gag order an abuse of power. They filed the lawsuit under a state law known as Section 78, which allows lawsuits over certain court decisions.

The four-judge panel ruled that Trump’s silence order cannot be challenged in that manner, citing an earlier New York Supreme Court ruling that designated such lawsuits as an extraordinary remedy.

Here, the severity of the potential harm is small, as the silence order is limited and limited to prohibiting statements only about court personnel, the panel wrote.

Engoron imposed the gag order in October. On September 3, Trump, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, posted a derogatory comment about the judge’s clerk on social media. The post, which contained a baseless accusation about the clerk’s personal life, came on the second day of the trial.

Appeals Court Judge David Friedman suspended the gag order on November 16, citing constitutional and legal concerns, but a four-judge panel reinstated the order on November 30.

During the first few weeks of the trials, Engoron found Trump $15,000 for violating the silence order. The judge expanded the order, which initially only covered comments about parties in the case, to include attorneys after Trump’s lawyers questioned the clerk’s prominent role on the bench.

State attorneys have supported the restriction, saying it was a reasonable step to protect Engoron’s workforce. A legal system attorney linked Trump’s comments to an increase in harassing phone calls and messages directed at the judge and clerk.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles