The judge overseeing the civil fraud trial against Donald Trump issued a gag order after the former president made disparaging Truth Social posts about the judge’s law clerk. The judge, Arthur Engoron, said that “personal attacks on members on my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I won’t tolerate them…Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting…about any of my staff.”
The clerk in question is Allison Greenfield, Engoron’s top clerk. Trump posted a picture of Greenfield, alongside Democratic majority leader, Senator Chuck Schumer. Trump labeled Greenfield in the caption as “Schumer’s girlfriend” and argued that the case should be dismissed. The post was taken down shortly thereafter, following a closed-door meeting between the parties.
“Justice Engoron said that his statement should be considered a “gag order” forbidding any posts, emails or public remarks about members of his staff,” The New York Times reported. “He added that serious sanctions would follow were he to be disobeyed. He did not elaborate, but experts said that if the former president violates the order, the judge could fine Mr. Trump as much as $1,000 – or even hold him in jail for up to30 days, though the chances of that happening are slim.”
Engoron’s ruling is not the first time Trump’s social media posts have gotten him into trouble. Federal prosecutors in Trump’s case relating to the 2020 election have asked the judge for a gag order in response to Trump’s social media statements. Also, in Alvin Bragg’s Manhattan case relating to hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels, the judge has prohibited Trump from posting about some evidence.
“Mr. Trump has spent much of the first two days of his civil fraud trial attacking Justice Engoron and [Letitia] James,” The New York Times reported. “Last year, Ms. James filed the lawsuit that led to the trial, accusing Mr. Trump of “staggering fraud” by inflating the values of his assets.”
Engoron inspired Trump’s ire when Engoron found that Trump was liable for fraud and dissolved the company Trump used to run his New York properties. Now, Engoron is overseeing a trial that will determine whether Trump is liable for other illegal acts, and if so, what the punishment will be. James is asking Engoron to fine Trump and his fellow defendants for $250 million.
“Mr. Trump has called the judge “deranged” and said that he is biased. His attack on Ms. Greenfield, which also included a link to what appeared to be Ms. Greenfield’s Instagram account, pushed the idea of Democratic collusion against him, saying that the case should be dismissed immediately,” The New York Times reported.
Chuck Schumer’s office pushed back against Trump’s post, calling it “ridiculous, absurd, and false.”
“Senator Schumer does not know Ms. Greenfield,” the statement read. “As is well known, Senator Schumer attends countless events in every corner of the state where tens of thousands of constituents take photos with him, just like this one, which was taken at a stop at an annual brunch in Manhattan.”
For what it’s worth, Trump’s post about Greenfield was deeply irresponsible. Greenfield has no sway over the case at hand, is likely a young and recent law school graduate, and does not deserve to have the attention of Trump’s followers directed at her.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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