In win for Trump, judge stays gag order in New York civil fraud case

Friedman's decision applies to Trump and his attorneys, permitting them to criticize the judge and his staff while the appeal moves forward.

Published: November 16, 2023 4:23pm

Updated: November 16, 2023 4:35pm

President Donald Trump scored a judicial win on Thursday when an appeals court judge temporarily lifted a gag order preventing him from criticizing court personnel and the prosecutors in his New York civil fraud case.

The gag order was originally imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron after Trump posted an image of his primary clerk, calling her "Schumer's girlfriend." Judge David Friedman curtailed the restrictions while the appellate process plays out, suggesting it ran afoul of Trump's First Amendment rights, the Associated Press reported.

The decision followed an emergency hearing on Thursday after Trump's legal team challenged the gag order the evening prior.

"I don’t see a reason for restrictions because Ms. James is continuing to disparage my client. Both sides need to be able to speak and the fact that I, frankly, couldn’t and my client couldn’t speak, for the past however many days, is so unconstitutional," Trump attorney Alina Habba argued.

Engoron's top clerk, Allison Greenfield, has faced accusations of making excessive political contributions in violation of judicial rules. Trump attorney Christopher Kise last week informed the court that it was considering seeking a mistrial in light of those claims. Engoron subsequently imposed a second gag order that applied not just to Trump, but his entire legal team. 

Friedman's decision applies to Trump and his attorneys, permitting them to criticize the judge and his staff while the appeal moves forward.

The case itself involves allegations from New York Attorney General Letitia James that Trump manipulated the value of his assets to securable favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums. Engoron previously ruled in summary judgement that Trump had done so, setting up a contentious trial to address the remainder of James's claims.

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly criticized Engoron as a partisan judge, saying in October that "HE HAS GONE CRAZY IN HIS HATRED OF 'TRUMP.'"

"He is trying to protect RACIST A.G. Letitia James, who has no case, lost the appeal, but has a tyrannical and unhinged Trump Hating Judge," he went on.

The former president has pleaded not guilty and insisted that the entire case is part of a broader political effort to derail his 2024 bid to return to the White House.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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