A New York appeals court on Thursday reinstated a gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump in his civil fraud trial in New York.
The decision from the four-judge panel came after an appellate judge put the order, which barred Trump from commenting on court personnel, on hold temporarily as the appeals process played out, The Associated Press reported.
Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a gag order on Trump in early October, saying that the former president made “repeated inappropriate remarks” about his law clerk, according to Bloomberg News. The former president posted about the clerk on social media on Oct. 3, accusing her of being politically biased, Reuters reported. The post prompted a rash of threatening and harassing calls and messages, Engoron said.
Twice, Trump was fined for violating the order, which covers comments made about any member of Engoron’s staff, according to Reuters. The order initially applied only to parties in the case, though Engoron later expanded it to include Trump’s lawyers, too, the AP reported.
Attorneys for the former president argued that the gag order violated Trump’s right to free speech amid the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
Engoron announced the appellate court’s decision Thursday morning during a break in court proceedings in New York, telling Trump’s legal team, “I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously, and I want to make sure counsel informs their clients of the fact that the stay was vacated,” Bloomberg reported.
“We are aware,” Trump lawyer Chris Kise said in response. “It’s a tragic day for the rule of law, but we are aware.”
Engoron is presiding over Trump’s civil trial in New York, where Attorney General Letitia James sued the former president, his adult sons and the Trump Organization, accusing them of lying to lenders and insurers about the value of their properties for years to get more favorable terms.
Trump has denied wrongdoing, calling the case politically motivated and “victimless.”
The former president is the top pick to become the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2024 presidential election.
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