Judge in New York Fraud Trial Extends Gag Order to Trump’s Legal Team – In Donald Trump’s $250 million fraud trial, Judge Arthur Engoron, who has already fined Trump $15,000 for social media attacks on his clerk, took action on Friday to prevent Trump’s lawyers from discussing “confidential communications” between the judge and his staff, further warning of potential consequences for the former president if the attacks persist.
“Failure to abide by this directive shall result in serious sanctions,” warned Engoron. Engoron disclosed that his office had been inundated with threats since the trial’s commencement and made it clear that he would not tolerate any further attacks on his staff. “The threat of, and actual, violence resulting from heated political rhetoric is well-documented,” Engoron wrote.
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“Since the commencement of this bench trial, my chambers have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages.” “The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is far and away outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm.”
On Thursday and Friday, there were contentious interactions between Trump’s legal team and Judge Engoron regarding the judge’s communication with his law clerk, who had been previously targeted by Trump on his Truth Social platform, resulting in a $15,000 fine. Engoron has cautioned Trump about potential jail if the attacks persist.
On Friday, Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, challenged Engoron to lift the gag order and raised the possibility of seeking a mistrial. Kise claimed that Engoron’s chief clerk had been involved in political activities with Democratic officials. “We all need to take this very seriously because the entire world is watching,” he said. Engoron questioned the accuracy of those allegations. “It’s a shame we’ve descended to this level,” he said.
“These arguments have no basis,” Engoron wrote on Friday. “Defendants’ First Amendment arguments in opposition to the imposition are wholly unpersuasive. This gag order is as narrowly tailored as possible to accomplish its purpose, which is to protect the safety of my staff and promote the orderly progression of this trial.” Allison Greenfield, the clerk, has affiliations with the Democratic Party and a background as a trial attorney in New York City’s law department.
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She frequently exchanges notes with Judge Engoron, and Trump’s legal team has alleged that her actions may be influencing the judge’s stance. The usually jovial Engoron snapped at Krise on Thursday, accusing him of “misogyny” in his “referring to my female principal law clerk” and stating that he had an “absolute unfettered right to get advice” from his principal law clerk.