New York, NY – A New York appeals court has temporarily lifted a gag order in former President Donald Trump’s fraud case, allowing him to publicly criticize the judge and his staff. As one of the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, Trump took to his Truth Social platform to express his frustration with Judge Arthur Engoron and his chief clerk, whom he accused of being biased and “totally out of control.”
The pause in the gag order, imposed in October after Trump shared a photo of the clerk on social media, will last until November 27, when a panel of appeals court justices will reconsider the issue.
Trump has been fined $15,000 for violating the gag order twice, with the judge warning of potential imprisonment for future breaches. The trial primarily focuses on determining damages after Judge Engoron ruled in favor of Attorney General Letitia James’ allegations of fraud against Trump and his company, the Trump Organization. James is seeking fines of at least $250 million and a ban on Trump and his sons from New York’s commercial real estate market.
Judge Engoron, a Democrat, had justified the gag order to protect his staffers from alleged attacks and threats. However, Trump’s legal team argued that the order violates his First Amendment right to free speech, leading Appellate Division Justice David Friedman to grant an interim stay on the gag order. The full panel of appeals court judges will have the final say on whether the gag order should be reimposed.
In addition to challenging the gag order, Trump’s lawyers are seeking a mistrial, citing alleged bias from Judge Engoron and his principal law clerk. The Trump team claims that these biases threaten both the defendant’s rights and the integrity of the judiciary. The trial, which is expected to run until mid-December, is just one of the legal challenges Trump faces, with a total of four criminal cases awaiting resolution. Despite these legal troubles, recent polls show that Trump still maintains a commanding lead over his Republican rivals.
The case against the Trump Organization has led to further consequences for Trump’s business licenses in New York. Judge Engoron ordered some of the licenses to be dissolved, but an appeals court has temporarily halted this ruling. As the trial continues, the public will be closely watching the proceedings unfold in this unprecedented legal battle.