OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:41 PM – Friday, November 17, 2023
A gag order preventing former President Donald Trump from making comments about court personnel in his $250 million civil business fraud lawsuit was temporarily lifted by a New York judge on Thursday.
Citing the “constitutional and statutory rights at issue,” Associate Justice David Friedman of the New York Appellate Division’s First Department approved the motion made by Trump’s defense counsel for an interim suspension of the gag orders.
With this decision, the Manhattan Supreme Court’s high-stakes fraud lawsuit involving New York Attorney General Letitia James and Trump’s legal team is no longer subject to gag orders.
Trump’s request was rejected by James’ office, which said that doing so would put the employees of the lower court “at risk of harassment or harm.”
James and Judge Arthur Engoron—the two who issued the gag orders—were directed by Friedman’s concise decision to provide counterarguments by Wednesday at noon. Trump’s attorneys had until the following Monday to respond.
“Fortunately, the Constitution and the First Amendment protect everyone, including President Trump,” defense attorney Christopher Kise said in a statement. “The public will again have full access to what is really taking place in this unprecedented trial,” he added.
They accused the former president of attempting to increase his net worth and profit financially. Trump, his two adult sons, the Trump Organization, and other high-ranking officials are all accused in James’ allegations of fraudulently inflating the valuations of Trump’s properties. In addition to demanding $250 million in damages, she wants to permanently ban Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Trump Sr. from operating a company in New York.
On the second day of the trial, Engoron had prohibited Trump from publicly criticizing his court personnel after Trump mentioned the judge’s lead legal clerk a number of times on social media.
On November 3rd, a month later, Engoron renewed the gag order against Trump’s legal team, claiming that they had made “repeated, inappropriate remarks” regarding the same law clerk. The judge stated that threats and abuse have been “inundated” in his chambers.
Trump has already been fined a total of $15,000 for breaking the tight gag order twice.
One day after Trump and his co-defendants requested a mistrial in the case, claiming that Engoron and his clerk are prejudiced and that their actions have “tainted these proceedings,” a motion to stop the gag orders was made.
According to the defendants, restricting their capacity to handle their claimed problems “is simply not justifiable and certainly not consistent with the avoidance of an appearance of impartiality.”
The “spurious allegations” in the earlier Thursday mistrial bid were denounced by James’ office and Engoron has not yet provided a written response. It is anticipated that the study would last until late December.
A second gag order in his criminal election meddling case in a federal court in Washington, D.C., is also currently being contested by Trump, the leading GOP candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Trump was prohibited by the gag order from speaking negatively about the prosecutors, probable witnesses, and court employees involved in the case. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court gave the D.C. gag order a temporary reprieve.
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