Donald Trump’s belligerent $250 million civil fraud trial took a bizarre turn on Tuesday after the former president was ordered to remove a controversial Truth Social post in relation to the case.
Trump had posted a screengrab of an Instagram picture by court clerk Allison Greenfield with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, where he referred to Greenfield as the Democrat leader’s “girlfriend” and called for the case to be dismissed.
Trump, who’d shared the screengrab earlier in the day, told reporters during the lunch break: “You saw what was just put out about Schumer and the principal clerk? That is disgraceful.” The trial was subsequently delayed for 45 minutes, during which time Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise and Eric Trump were seen approaching judge Arthur Engoron’s office, and the post was removed.
A Bizarre Day In Court
Judge Engoron has previously steered clear of responding to Trump’s public outbursts. Following his ruling last month, where the former president was found to have overvalued or oversized some of his properties for financial gain, Judge Engoron has been labeled biased and a “Trump-hating judge” by the Republican frontrunner.
However, following the Truth Social upload on Tuesday, an angry Engoron said: “Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I won’t tolerate it. Consider this a gag order on all parties with respect to posting or publicly speaking about any member of my staff.”
He confirmed he had ordered the “disparaging” and “untrue” comments to be deleted, and warned that any violations of the gag order would be met with sanctions. Before he could, however, Trump’s campaign sent out an email criticizing the New York District Judge, branding him as a “far-left Democrat” with excerpts from far-right websites.
Allegations Naturally Denied
Spokeswoman for Sen. Schumer Allison Biasotti blasted the “pathetic” Trump post as “ridiculous, absurd and false,” adding that the Democrat does not know the clerk. “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,” Biasotti said in a statement.
It’s not the first time Trump has publicly chastised others involved in his legal cases. His regular outbursts prompted Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting the former president in two of his four indictments, to ask U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in August to prevent Trump from making statements “regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses” and “about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating.”
Last month, Smith filed court documents stating that Trump had waged “a sustained campaign of prejudicial public statements regarding witnesses, the Court, the District, and prosecutors,” requesting a motion for a narrow gag order in his election interference case in Washington D.C. Judge Chutkan has ordered an Oct. 16 hearing for Smith’s motion.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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