An appeals court has reinstated a gag order preventing former President Trump and his legal team from discussing the staff of the New York judge overseeing his ongoing business fraud trial. The appeals panel rejected Trump’s request to lift the order, which had restricted his ability to criticize the judge’s clerk. Trump’s legal team argued that Judge Arthur Engoron’s enforcement of the gag order raised concerns about his impartiality as the fact-finder in Trump’s case.
The gag order originated from an online attack by Trump on the principal law clerk working with Judge Engoron, who unexpectedly became a central figure in the fraud trial. In October, a post on Trump’s Truth Social platform falsely referred to the clerk as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s “girlfriend” and included personal information about her. Schumer’s spokesperson denounced the post as false and absurd.
Trump and his lawyers have asserted that the clerk functions as a “co-judge” in the case, criticizing her for passing notes and having private conversations with the judge during the trial. Trump incurred $15,000 in fines for various violations of the gag order, and the order was extended to include remarks about the clerk made by his legal team. The decision to appeal the order was made by his legal team.