In a recent legal development, Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan has expanded the existing gag order in the civil fraud case against former U.S. President Donald Trump.
This order prohibits lawyers involved in the case from making public statements regarding the judge’s communications with his staff.
The lawsuit, brought by New York state’s attorney general, accuses Trump of exaggerating his assets and net worth to secure favorable bank loans and lower insurance premiums.
In a separate development, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit temporarily lifted a gag order imposed by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in a criminal case against Trump.
Special Counsel Jack Smith brought this case, accusing Trump of unlawfully attempting to overturn 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 November 20. Chutkan’s order had restricted statements targeting prosecutors and potential witnesses in the case.
Trump has previously used derogatory language against Smith, and his lawyers argue that the gag order violates his First Amendment rights.
In justifying the expanded gag order in the New York case, Justice Engoron emphasized his “unfettered right” to consult with his staff during the trial, asserting that the gag order’s primary purpose is to ensure their safety.
He argued that the First Amendment rights of defendants and their attorneys to comment on his staff are outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm.
Engoron warned that failure to comply with the gag order would result in serious sanctions.
This development comes as Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, have recently testified in the New York case, with their father expected to testify on Monday.