On Thursday, a New York state appeals court rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn a gag order that prevents the former US president from speaking publicly about court officials in his civil fraud trial in New York.
The judge overseeing the case, Judge Arthur Engoron, issued the publication order on October 3, after the former US president shared on social media a photo of the judge’s legal assistant posing with US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and falsely called “Her friend, Schumer.”
Engoron said the post left the courtroom “flooded” with hundreds of threats made by Trump supporters.
Trump, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, appealed the order last month, arguing that it violated his constitutional right to free speech.
The state’s intermediate court of appeals, known as the Appellate Division, said Thursday that the gag order had little effect.
The decision stated: “Here the risk of potential harm is minimal, because the gag order is narrow and is limited to prohibiting statements related to court employees only.”
Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Testimony concluded Wednesday in the trial of a lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, who is seeking to fine Trump at least $250 million and significantly restrict his ability to do business in New York — home to many of his famous properties — because of the lying. He diverted his net worth to deceive creditors.
Engoron has already ruled that Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent, limiting the ruling largely to compensation. Engoron is expected to issue a written ruling after closing arguments on January 11.
Trump denies any wrongdoing and criticizes the case.
The gag order was initially lifted by a judge on November 16 when Trump appealed, but a panel of judges reinstated it two weeks later. Trump asked the Appellate Division for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court.
Engoron fined Trump a total of $15,000 for violating the order twice.
Trump faces a series of other legal problems in his campaign to confront US President Joe Biden in the November 2024 elections, including four criminal cases. He pleaded not guilty to all four.
None of these cases diminished the former president’s lead in opinion polls over his rivals for the Republican nomination.
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