Nov 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump disputes need for gag order in NY civil fraud trial

Former President Donald Trump gives remarks at the South Texas International airport on November 19, 2023 in Edinburg, Texas.

Former President Trump gives remarks at the South Texas International airport on Nov. 19 in Edinburg, Texas. Photo: Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

Lawyers for former President Trump argued in a filing on Monday that the gag order on him in the New York civil fraud trial should remain on hold.

Driving the news: Trump's team said that the orders "shield" the judge overseeing the case and his law clerk from "the precise scrutiny essential to maintaining public confidence in the judiciary and ensuring a fair trial."

  • Trump's team argued that any threats against the judge overseeing the trial and the clerk do not warrant the gag order.

State of play: Court officials last week wrote in a filing that "threats, harassment and disparaging comments increased exponentially" after Trump made a post on social media about Judge Arthur Engoron's principle law clerk, Allison Greenfield.

  • The threats, which targeted both Engoron and Greenfield, "are considered to be serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative," per the filing.

What they're saying: Trump's attorneys wrote in the Monday filing that the "disturbing behavior engaged in by anonymous, third-party actors towards the judge and Principal Law Clerk ... merits appropriate security measures."

  • The filing argued that the behavior of others doesn't justify revoking Trump's First Amendment rights, which the judge's "partisan bias" has compromised.
  • "However, it does not justify the wholesale abrogation of Petitioners' First Amendment rights in a proceeding of immense stakes to Petitioners, which has been compromised by the introduction of partisan bias on the bench."

Zoom in: Engoron issued the gag order last month after Trump's post on his Truth Social account about Greenfield. The former president has been fined twice over violations of the gag order.

  • A New York appeals court earlier this month temporarily halted the gag order on Trump and his legal team in the ongoing trial.

What's next: Defense attorney Christopher Kise said Monday that Trump is likely to testify on Dec. 11 as the final witness in the ongoing trial, ABC News reports.

  • Trump's son, Eric Trump, is also set to return to the witness stand on Dec. 6. Eric Trump and the former president himself have both previously been called to testify by the New York attorney general's office.

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