Appeals court reinstate Trump gag order

 December 2, 2023

In a sharp U-turn, a New York appeals court reinstated a gag order restricting Donald Trump from commenting on personnel involved in his civil fraud trial. 

Judge Arthur Engoron has already fined Trump $15,000 for violating the gag order, which was paused while the appeals court considered Trump's complaint.

Trump gag order restored

The judge has already ruled that Trump committed fraud, but Trump has argued his financial statements came with "buyer beware" disclosures and that no banks were actually victimized.

Trump's defense called representatives of Deutsche Bank to the stand this week, who testified that Trump was a "whale" of a client who brought loads of business.

Trump has repeatedly blasted the judge, his clerk, and the prosecutor, Democrat Letitia James, as political hacks who are out to get him.

He says the gag order and the trial itself are efforts to interfere with his presidential campaign, which is showing signs of momentum as Trump overtakes Joe Biden in various polls.

After the gag order was restored, Trump's lawyer Christopher Kise lamented the ruling, calling it a national disgrace.

“In a country where the First Amendment is sacrosanct, President Trump may not even comment on why he thinks he cannot get a fair trial. Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America,” Kise said.

Trump to return to the stand

Engoron first imposed the order after Trump disparaged the judge's clerk on social media.

Trump has also criticized Engoron's wife over anti-Trump social media posts attributed to her.

"This is the Judge’s Wife and Family that are putting these things out,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. "I am not entitled to a Jury under this Statute. Can this be happening in America? This is the most unfair Trial in the History of New York, and I’ve had some pretty unfair Trials!”

Trump is expected to testify in his defense on December 11, before the trial's closing. He previously gave combative testimony during the state's case.

Trump is also battling a gag order from prosecutor Jack Smith in Washington D.C.

That order is on hold while the appeals court in D.C. considers Trump's challenge.

A panel of three judges appeared likely to uphold the gag order during a hearing last month, but they also admonished Smith, saying he needs to show "thick enough skin" to withstand criticism.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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