Appellate Judge Lifts Gag Order On Trump In Civil Fraud Trial

A New York appellate judge, Judge David Friedman, has issued a temporary stay on the gag order placed on former President Donald Trump in his civil fraud trial. The gag order had previously prevented Trump from making any comments about court personnel following his public criticism of a law clerk involved in the trial.

The gag order was initially put in place by Judge Arthur Engoron back in October in order to restrict all parties involved in the case from making derogatory statements about court staff. Engoron has already slammed fines of $5,000 and $10,000 on separate occasions for violating this order on social media, with a threat of imprisonment if further violations occur.

At an emergency hearing held on Thursday, Friedman questioned Engoron’s authority to police Trump’s speech outside the courtroom. He argued that gag orders are usually meant for criminal trials, where there is a legitimate concern about swaying the opinions of the jury. Trump’s civil trial, however, does not have a jury.

The lifting of the gag order also applies to Trump’s legal team and other individuals involved in the case. It is, however, unclear how long it will last.

Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, welcomed the decision and emphasized that it allows the former president to exercise his constitutional First Amendment rights by openly discussing any perceived bias within his trial.

Alina Habba, another attorney representing Trump, expressed her belief that there should be no restrictions on either side’s ability to speak freely about the case. She also pointed out that Trump’s statements posed no danger to the clerk.

Trump also took to his Truth Social platform to respond to the ruling. In his post, he criticized Engoron for what he deemed a “Ridiculous and Unconstitutional Gag Order.”

Accusing the court of being politically biased, he wrote, “His Ridiculous and Unconstitutional Gag Order, not allowing me to defend myself against him and his politically biased and out of control, Trump Hating Clerk, who is sinking him and his Court to new levels of LOW, is a disgrace.”

“They are defending the Worst and Least Respected Attorney General in the United States, Letitia James, who is a Worldwide disgrace, as is her illegal Witch Hunt against me. The Radical and Unprecedented actions of Judge Engoron will keep BUSINESSES and JOBS forever out of New York State,” he went further.