(Patriot.Buzz) – In evident violation of his First Amendment rights, a state appeals court in New York has reinstated a gag order preventing former President Donald Trump from publicly discussing court staff involved in his ongoing civil fraud trial.
This decision reverses an earlier ruling by Appellate Judge David Friedman, who had temporarily lifted the gag order due to concerns over potential violations of Trump’s First Amendment rights.
The reinstatement, determined by a four-judge panel of New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, did not elaborate on the reasons for their decision.
The original gag order, issued in October by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, specifically prohibits Trump and his legal team from speaking about the court’s staff. Engoron has also imposed a total of $15,000 in fines on Trump for twice violating the order.
Justice Engoron, presiding over the $250 million case, expressed his intention to enforce the order strictly, especially now that it has been reinstated. The gag order issue arose after Trump accused Engoron’s chief law clerk, Allison Greenfield, of bias in a social media post.
Trump also called Greenfield “Schumer’s girlfriend,” accompanied by a photograph with Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The order does not restrict criticism of the judge but is limited to his staff.
Engoron’s lawyer blamed Trump, asserting that both the judge and his clerk have been receiving daily threats, some containing antisemitic slurs, since the former president’s social media post.
However, Trump’s legal team countered that while the threats are deplorable, they do not constitute “imminent harm,” and Trump’s freedom of speech is particularly crucial given his status as the GOP presidential frontrunner.
“Tragic day for the rule of law,” said Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, lamenting the negative impact on Trump’s ability to comment on the fairness of his trial. “Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America,” he added.
As the trial enters its ninth week, Eric Trump and Donald Trump are expected to return to the witness stand on upcoming dates. Engoron has indicated that once testimony concludes, the parties will have until early January for motions, with closing arguments set for January 11. The judge aims to issue a verdict in this non-jury case by the end of January.