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New York appeals court reinstates gag order against Donald Trump in civil fraud trial

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A New York appeals court has reinstated a gag order prohibiting former US President Donald Trump and his attorneys from making public statements about the courtroom staff in the ongoing $250 million civil fraud trial.

Judge Arthur Engoron originally issued the order barring Trump from making public statements about his court’s staff after Trump made numerous comments about a clerk, who Trump says is biased against him

Hundreds of threats against Engoron and the law clerk were made public last week. Engoron’s clerk has received 20 to 30 calls per day to her personal cell phone and 30 to 50 messages daily on social media platforms and two personal email addresses, according to court papers.

“Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon, It is ordered that the motion is denied; the interim relief granted by order of a Justice of this Court, dated November 16, 2023, is hereby vacated,” the latest appellate ruling says.

The appeals court paused the gag order earlier this November, but on Thursday, November 30, said it should be restored while the official appeal is pending.

During a break in the trial Thursday morning, Engoron announced the appeals court ruling reinstating the gag order.

“I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously. I want to make sure that counsel informs their clients of the fact that the stay was vacated,” the judge said.

“It is a tragic day for the rule of law, but we’re aware,” Trump’s attorney Chris Kise said.

“It is what it is,” Engoron responded.

The $250 million lawsuit was brought by the New York attorney general’s office and alleges that Trump and his co-defendants committed repeated fraud in inflating assets on financial statements to get better terms on commercial real estate loans and insurance policies. Engoron already ruled the former president is liable for fraud and he’s considering how much the Trumps will have to pay in damages.

Trump had urged the appeals court on Monday to continue to block the gag order, saying that threats to the judge and his law clerk do not “justify” limiting the former president’s constitutional right to defend himself.

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