The judge overseeing a civil trial accusing former President Donald Trump and his company of fraud imposed a gag order Tuesday, after the former president posted a disparaging social media post about one of the judge’s clerks.
The gag order prohibits parties in the case—including but not limited to Trump—from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly” about members of the New York City court’s staff, Politico reports.
Judge Arthur Engoron imposed the gag order Tuesday on the second day of Trump’s trial, in which New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses the former president and his company of fraudulently inflating the value of their assets to obtain more favorable business deals and boost Trump’s net worth.
The gag order came after Trump posted on Truth Social about one of Engoron’s clerks, calling her “Chuck Schumer’s girlfriend” and sharing a picture of her with the Senate majority leader along with a link to the clerk’s Instagram account.
The post was later removed, which the Associated Press notes came after Trump, his attorneys and the AG’s attorneys had a closed-door meeting during the trial’s lunch break.
Engoron said he ordered the post to be deleted, but it was viewed by “millions of people” first, Law360 reports.
“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron said Tuesday, as quoted by Politico.
What To Watch For
The trial is set to continue through December—with Trump expected to testify—and could result in Trump and his business associates facing such penalties as a $250 million fine and prohibitions on commercial real estate acquisitions or running a New York business for the next five years. Engoron has also threatened “serious sanctions” should any parties in the case violate the gag order.
The gag order in New York comes as Trump’s attorneys and the Justice Department have separately been arguing over imposing a gag order on Trump in the federal case against him for trying to overturn the 2020 election. Special counsel Jack Smith, who’s overseeing the investigation, has asked the court to put a gag order on Trump based on his “sustained campaign of prejudicial public statements” against witnesses and others involved with the case, citing a number of social media posts Trump has published attacking various potential witnesses in the case, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has not yet ruled on the request, and a hearing is set for October 16.
James sued Trump, his company and business associates—including his children—in November 2022, arguing the ex-president and his company had made more than 200 false statements that misstated the value of his assets to get more favorable business deals and inflate his own net worth. The lawsuit takes issue with valuations on a number of Trump’s properties, including that the former president exaggerated the size of his penthouse in Trump Tower and overvalued his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida. Trump has denied the allegations against him and his attorneys have argued the valuations are subjective and Trump’s estimates are correct, but Engoron has already ruled against Trump once in the case, finding him and his company liable for fraud by misstating the value of their assets. Trump’s legal arguments are out of “a fantasy world, not the real world,” Engoron wrote. The trial, which began Monday, is still moving forward on other allegations, such as insurance fraud and falsification of business records, and the AG’s attorneys have said they intend to show Trump and his business had intent to commit fraud.
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