Former President Donald Trump faced a significant setback as the Court of Appeals on Thursday, November 29, 2023, reinstated a gag order prohibiting him and his legal team from discussing the staff involved in his New York business fraud trial.
The decision, delivered with a terse finality as reported by The Hill, denied Trump’s plea to lift the order, dealing a blow to his aggressive attacks on the judge’s clerk.
Trump’s legal team had argued that Judge Arthur Engoron’s enforcement of the gag order raised questions about his impartiality as the overseer of the fraud trial.
However, the appeals panel stood firm, emphasizing the necessity of maintaining decorum and preventing interference in the legal proceedings.
The gag order originated from an online assault launched by Trump himself on Engoron’s principal law clerk.
In a post on his Truth Social platform in October, Trump falsely labeled the clerk as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s “girlfriend” and divulged personal information about her.
Schumer’s spokesperson promptly dismissed the post as “ridiculous, absurd, and false.”
The former president and his legal representatives contended that the clerk played a role akin to a “co-judge” in the case, criticizing her alleged interactions with the judge during the trial.
This criticism, coupled with Trump’s persistent violations of the gag order, resulted in fines amounting to $15,000 before the legal team decided to appeal.
The gag order extension to encompass remarks about the clerk by Trump’s counsel reflected the court’s commitment to preserving the integrity of the legal process.
The decision highlights the importance of upholding a fair and impartial trial, free from undue influence and inflammatory rhetoric.
As Trump navigates these legal challenges, the reinstatement of the gag order underscores the court’s commitment to maintaining order and decorum in what has become a highly scrutinized and contentious fraud trial.