A New York appeals court rejected President Donald Trump’s bid Thursday to toss the gag order imposed on him in his New York civil fraud trial, along with the fines imposed for violations.
The court found that Trump had not used the right legal method to challenge the order imposed in October by Judge Arthur Engoron. Trump’s lawyers asked the court in November to vacate the gag order using a provision of the law to sue Engoron directly, which the court found was an “extraordinary remedy” not appropriate when the “potential harm is small,” according to ABC News.
“Here, the gravity of potential harm is small, given that the Gag Order is narrow, limited to prohibiting solely statements regarding the court’s staff,” the court wrote. “Further, while the Gag Order and Contempt Orders were not issued pursuant to formal motion practice, they are reviewable through the ordinary appellate process.” (RELATED: The Supreme Court Just Threw A Wrench Into Jack Smith’s 2024 Plans)
The gag order bars Trump and other parties in the case from speaking publicly about Engoron’s staff. Engoron imposed it after Trump made a Truth Social post about his law clerk Allison Greenfield, referencing her as the “girlfriend” of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
“To the extent there may have been appealable issues with respect to any of the procedures the court implemented in imposing the financial sanctions, the proper method of review would be to move to vacate the Contempt Orders, and then to take an appeal from the denial of those motions,” the ruling continued. (RELATED: Did Letitia James’ Case Against Trump’s Business Empire Just Completely Fall Apart?)
The New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department temporarily paused the order Nov. 16 but reinstated it Nov. 30.
Trump was fined twice for violations of the order, first for $5,000 after he failed to remove the post about Greenfield from his campaign website for 17 days after the order was issued and second for $10,000 after telling reporters the person sitting next to Engoron was “very partisan.”
Engoron found in September that Trump defrauded banks and insurance companies by inflating his net worth and overvaluing assets.
In November, documents and testimony presented during his trial revealed the bank New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged Trump defrauded was eager to land him as a client.
Rosemary Vrablic, then-managing director of Deutsche Bank, wrote in a 2011 email to her colleagues after a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. that they were “whale hunting,” referencing a very wealthy client, according to the Associated Press. Moreover, David Williams, a 17-year employee of Deutsche Bank who was involved in the Trump Organization loans, testified that the discrepancy between the bank’s estimate of Trump’s worth and his own, lower estimate wasn’t an issue for the bank.
“It’s not unusual or atypical for any client’s provide[d] financial statements to be adjusted to this level to this extent,” Williams said during the trial, according to CNN.
Testimony for the trial wrapped up Wednesday, with a verdict expected early 2024, according to Reuters.
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