Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has imposed a limited gag order against former President Donald Trump — and it also extends to his attorneys.
Engoron’s decision to extend the gag order to Trump’s attorneys stems from alleged threats and harassment targeted at his office since the trial began. The judge highlighted the documented history of violence resulting from heated political rhetoric, though it wasn’t specific to Trump.
He revealed that his chambers “have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening communications, including phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages.” This prompted the judge to take action out of concern he needs to protect his staff.
The gag order prohibits attorneys involved in the case from making any public statements — whether in or out of court — regarding confidential communications between the judge and his staff. However, they are still allowed to mention the clerk in the context of court schedules and procedures.
Engoron justified this restriction, stating, “The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is far and away outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm.”
Violation of the gag order carries serious consequences as Engoron warned of imposing severe sanctions. Trump has already faced fines of $5,000 and $10,000 for violating the order twice. The most recent order singles out two of Trump’s lawyers — Christopher Kise and Alina Habba — for their repeated and inappropriate remarks about the judge’s principal law clerk.
Kise and Habba argued that the judge’s use of handwritten notes to communicate with his law clerk creates an appearance of impropriety. They suggest that this practice allows for covert communication, insinuating a conspiracy.
Justice Engoron threatened to expand Trump gag order after Trumps attorney, Christopher Kise, raised objections to ‘note passing’ between the judge and his legal aide, Allison Greenfield.@ContinentalPllc @AlinaHabba @EricTrump@realDonaldTrump 🥊 pic.twitter.com/83oiqJc53W
— Joni Job (@jj_talking) November 3, 2023
However, Engoron dismissed these claims and warned Kise about potential misogyny in his repeated references to the female principal law clerk. Kise denied misogyny and asserted his commitment to his family.
While the gag order prevents Trump from verbally blasting Engoron’s court staff, he remains free to share his opinions about the judge himself and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the civil case against him.
The case contends that Trump colluded with his two adult sons, the Trump Organization, and numerous others to inflate his net worth for financial gain. James seeks $250 million in damages and seeks to prohibit the Trump family from operating another business in the Empire State.
The former president is expected to take the witness stand following the testimonies of his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.