Judge Engoron issues gag order in Trump civil fraud trial

October 3, 2023

New York State Supreme Court  Arthur Engoron on Tuesday issued a gag order in the business fraud trial of former President Trump.

“Consider this a gag order on all parties with respect to posting or publicly speaking about any member of my staff,” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said on the second day of Trump’s civil trial.

A week ago, Engoron had issued a summary judgment in the civil lawsuit brought by Attorney General James. The Judge in the Supreme Court 1st Judicial District in New York agreed with James’ allegations that Trump and his companies, as well as his two adult sons, had committed more than 200 instances of bank, tax and insurance fraud over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021.

One of the former President’s adult daughters, Ivanka Trump, had also initially been named in the suit, but in June a New York State appeals court dismissed all claims against her.

Judge Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment—making it nearly or completely impossible for the Trump Organization to continue to do business in New York State. The judge further said that an independent monitor would continue to oversee the company’s operations. 

The summary judgment resolved the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but the other claims remain, including the amount of damages that will be levied. The state Attorney General is suing Trump and the other defendants for $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in his home state. The trial could last into December, according to Engoron.

Trump, who’s been in the courtroom for the first two days of the trial, has frequently attack both Judge Engoron and James on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Ahead of the gag order, Trump targeted Engoron’s principal law clerk by sharing a social media post that included her full name and a photo of her posing with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as they both smiled. In the post, Trump called the clerk “Schumer’s girlfriend” and accused her of “running this case against me.”

During a break in the trial, Trump mentioned the clerk and Schumer again, and claimed that the trial was “rigged” and “fraudulent.”

Engoron ordered the posting be deleted, which it was, but the Judge said it had already been emailed out to millions of people. 

He warned that any public discussion of his staff would result in strict sanctions.

On Monday, Trump posed for press photos before entering the court, repeating past claims that the trial is a “witch hunt.”

Ahead of entering the court a short time before Trump Monday, James told reporters, “The law is both powerful and fragile and today in court, we will prove our case…justice will prevail.”

Trump has denied all wrongdoing. In August 2022 during a deposition in James’ office, he pleaded the fifth against self-recrimination more than 400 times.

PHOTO: New York State Supreme Court

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