NEW YORK (Reuters) – A judge on Friday issued an expanded gag order in New York state’s civil fraud case against Donald Trump, while a federal appeals court temporarily lifted similar restrictions in a criminal case against the former president of the United States in Washington. .
The order issued by Judge Arthur Engoron of New York state court in Manhattan bars public statements by lawyers in the case about the judge’s communications with his staff. The case brought by the New York state attorney general accuses Trump of inflating his assets and net worth to obtain favorable bank loans and lower insurance premiums.
Engoron first imposed a gag order on Oct. 3 after Trump shared on social media a photo of the judge’s top law clerk posing with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and called her Schumer’s false “girlfriend.”
The judge fined Trump $15,000 for violating that gag order twice. The expanded gag order also covers attorneys after a member of Trump’s legal team, Christopher Kise, objected to the clerk passing notes to the judge during the trial. Defense attorneys in the case have raised repeated objections about the working relationship between the judge and his clerk, including suggestions that she was biased. Trump has also accused her of bias.
Separately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted Trump’s request to suspend U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s gag order limiting his statements in a case brought by special prosecutor Jack Smith, accusing him of illegally trying to undo his 2020 election loss.
A three-judge panel, all appointed by Democratic presidents, scheduled oral arguments on Trump’s appeal of the gag order for Nov. 20. Chutkan’s order prohibited statements directed at prosecutors and potential witnesses in the case.
In the past, Trump has called Smith a “deranged lunatic” and a “thug,” among other insults. Trump’s lawyers have argued that the order violates his free speech rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
In the New York case, Engoron said Friday that he has an “unlimited right” to consult with members of his staff throughout the trial, and that the gag order was intended to protect his safety.
“The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is vastly outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm,” Engoron wrote.
Failure to comply with the gag order, the judge said, “will result in serious penalties.”
The order was issued after Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, testified this week. His father is expected to testify Monday.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Susan Heavey; Editing by Will Dunham and Caitlin Webber
Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.