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Trump Ramps Up Attacks On NY Court Clerk After Judge Lifts Gag Order



Former President Donald Trump has amplified his attacks on the court clerk in his New York civil fraud trial, posting about her five times in the four days since an appeals court judge lifted a gag order banning him from talking about court staff—after Trump was fined $15,000 for making disparaging public comments and spreading rumors about the clerk.

Key Facts

Engoron imposed a gag order against Trump on October 3—the second day of the civil trial accusing him of fraudulently overstating the value of his assets—prohibiting the former president from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly” about members of the court’s staff, an order that was expanded earlier this month to cover Trump’s attorneys.

After more than a month, New York appeals court Judge David Friedman temporarily lifted the order on Thursday as Trump’s appeal works its way through the court system, allowing Trump to once again comment on members of Engoron’s staff publicly, after Friedman called the gag order inappropriate for a civil case without a jury.

Later that day, Trump blasted Engoron’s “politically biased and out of control, Trump Hating Clerk” on Truth Social, calling the gag order “Ridiculous and Unconstitutional” and reiterating his claim the trial amounts to a witch hunt—Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case.

Trump slammed the clerk in another post on Saturday, calling her a “crooked and highly partisan Law Clerk,” while blasting New York Attorney General Letitia James—who is suing Trump for fraud—as “racist” and arguing the clerk and James “should be sanctioned and prosecuted over this complete and very obvious MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE!!!”

Later on Saturday, Trump shared a link to a story on conservative website The National Pulse that included a photo of the clerk and called her Engoron’s “Co-Judge,” and re-shared the story hours later in a post that called the case a “POLITICAL WITCH HUNT” and a “Hoax.”

On Monday, Trump again posted the National Pulse story, which accused the court clerk of engaging in “partisan activities,” including an event where speakers endorsed James.

Key Background

James brought the $250 million case against Trump last September, accusing Trump, the Trump Organization and Trump’s business associates—including his adult children—of fraudulently inflating the value of their assets for favorable business deals. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, arguing his assets, including his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate, are worth significantly more than court documents indicate. He has also attacked the court, accusing Engoron and his staff of bias. Engoron first imposed a gag order after Trump posted a photo of his clerk with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Truth Social, calling the clerk Schumer’s girlfriend. Trump’s attorneys have also claimed Engoron’s law clerk passed notes to him and has exerted her influence in the trial, though Engoron has called those claims “misogynistic” and said they “have no basis,” and argued he has the right to seek his clerk’s counsel. Trump has also demanded a mistrial in the case, claiming the judge and clerk are biased, though the request was denied.

Big Number

$15,000. That’s how much Trump has been fined for violating the gag order in New York. A $5,000 fine was imposed after Trump’s initial post on the clerk remained online, which Engoron called a “blatant violation” of the gag order and threatened jail time for. Engoron fined Trump another $10,000 less than a week later after Trump told reporters Engoron had a “person who is very partisan sitting alongside him”—which Trump claimed wasn’t a reference to the clerk.


Trump also faced a gag order in his federal election interference case barring him from attacking potential witnesses and other parties in the trial, though that order is on hold as well. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan put the order in place last month, but a federal appeals court put it on hold earlier this month after Trump requested it be lifted.

What To Watch For

The federal appeals court in Washington D.C. signaled on Monday it would reinstate the gag order, but did not rule out the possibility of narrowing the order’s scope.

Surprising Fact

Despite warning explicitly against publicly criticizing members of his staff, Engoron did not prohibit the former president from trash talking the judge himself. After facing his first fine for violating the gag order, Trump took to Truth Social to blast Engoron as a “lunatic,” posting a video of a 2015 speech Engoron gave at Queensborough Community College when Engoron admitted it is “hard to factor out my own emotion” from court cases.

Further Reading

Trump Shares Post Labeling Judge Who Fined Him A ‘Lunatic’ (Forbes)

Trump Gag Order Expanded To Ex-President’s Attorneys After ‘Hundreds’ Of Threats In N.Y. Fraud Case (Forbes)

Judge Lifts Gag Order Against Trump In N.Y. Fraud Trial—Citing Free Speech Concerns (Forbes)

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