A New York judge imposed a limited gag order on defendant Donald Trump Tuesday after the former president posted about a key court staffer during his civil business fraud trial.
Judge Arthur Engoron issued the order, which applies to all parties in the case and pertains only to verbal attacks on court staff. It came after Trump recirculated a disparaging social media post about Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield.
Without naming Trump, Engoron said that a defendant in the case "posted to a social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.” He added that “personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, not appropriate” and not tolerated
Trump had already deleted the post. Engoron said he ordered it gone.
The post included a photo of Greenfield with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at a campaign event. Trump, the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, has repeatedly cast the lawsuit and trial as a political attack by New York’s Democratic attorney general, Letitia James.
Trump also commented on the clerk on Monday, saying that she “should not be allowed to be in his ear on every single question” and “hates Trump.”
The gag order came after Trump and lawyers for both sides repeatedly went into court behind closed doors during a lunch break.
With Trump attending the trial for a second day, James’ attorney questioned an accountant in an effort to build the state’s case that Trump and others at his company had full control over the preparation of financial statements at the heart of the lawsuit against them.
And Engoron set the record straight about a comment that the ex-president had touted as an important victory.
Engoron had suggested on Monday that testimony about Trump’s 2011 financial statement might be beyond the legal time limit applicable to Attorney General James’ lawsuit. It alleges that Trump and his business chronically lied about his wealth on financial statements given to banks, insurers and others.
The relevant statute of limitations rules out claims related to activities before a date in 2014, and Trump’s legal team has argued that the time limit cuts off most of the case.
Engoron said Tuesday that “statutes of limitations bar claims, not evidence” and that at the trial’s early stage, he’s inclined to give both sides considerably leeway to connect older evidence to claims in the lawsuit.
“I want to emphasize: This trial is not an opportunity to relitigate what I have already decided,” Engoron said. He ruled last week that all the claims were allowable under the statute of limitations.
A lawyer for James’ office, Kevin Wallace, went on to suggest that he was using the 2011 document to show that Trump’s financial statements were prepared in the same manner — giving him and his company the final say over the valuations that appeared — for at least a decade.
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