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Legal Muzzle Redux: New York Appeals Court Reinstates Gag Order Against Trump In Fraud Trial

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Donald Trump gag order
Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York City. (Imgur)

An appellate court in New York has reinstated a gag order preventing former President Donald Trump and his legal team from publicly discussing the courtroom staff involved in the ongoing $250 million civil fraud trial. The initial order, issued by Judge Arthur Engoron, was in response to Trump’s repeated disparaging comments about the court’s clerk.

Last week, numerous threats against the judge and the clerk were disclosed, prompting the reinstatement of the gag order by the appeals court. Despite a previous pause on the order, the court ruled it should be restored while the official appeal is ongoing.

During a trial break, Judge Engoron announced the reinstatement of the gag order, emphasizing his intention to enforce it rigorously. The $250 million lawsuit, filed by the New York attorney general’s office, accuses Trump and co-defendants of committing fraud by inflating assets on financial statements. Engoron had previously found Trump liable for fraud, and discussions on damages are underway.

Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, expressed disappointment with the ruling, calling it a “tragic day for the rule of law.”

Trump, who had urged the appeals court to continue blocking the gag order, has faced fines for violating it. The civil fraud trial is expected to conclude in January 2024, with both sides submitting written briefings by January 5, followed by oral arguments on January 11. Engoron aims to file his written decision by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Trump awaits a separate appeals court ruling on a gag order related to the federal election subversion case against him. This order, issued by Judge Tanya Chutkan, limits Trump’s direct attacks on specific individuals involved in the case while allowing criticism of the Justice Department and maintaining his innocence.

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