New York Judge Arthur Engoron expanded a gag order on Friday against Donald Trump to include the attorneys representing him in the state’s civil fraud lawsuit against the former president.
The order was originally put in place after Trump attacked one of Engoron’s clerks, Allison Greenfield, on Truth Social, baselessly insinuating that she had a romantic relationship with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Despite the order’s implementation, Trump has already been fined twice by Engoron for failing to delete the post from his campaign website, and for additional comments made to the media. Friday’s decision came after Trump’s attorneys allegedly made “on the record, repeated, inappropriate remarks” about Engoron’s interactions with his staff, including allegations that his clerk was “improperly influencing the ongoing bench trial” by communicating with him.
Trump’s lawyers have accused Greenfield of rolling her eyes and whispering to Engoron during cross-examination. On Friday, the former president’s attorneys argued that Greenfield had “demonstrable bias or at least the appearance of that,” and cited a Breitbart article about her as evidence. They also claimed that Greenfield was passing too many notes to Judge Engoron and unlawfully “co-judging” the case.
“My law clerks are public servants who are performing their jobs in the manner in which I request. This includes providing legal authority and opinions, as well as responding to questions I pose to them,” Engoron wrote in his ruling. “Plainly, defendants are not entitled to the confidential communications amongst me and my court staff, who are hired specifically to aid me in carrying out my adjudicative responsibilities. Nor are they entitled to continue referencing my staff in the record.”
Engoron added that “since the commencement of this bench trial, my chambers have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters and packages.”
“The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is far and away outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm,” he wrote.
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