Trump Lawyers in NY Fraud Case Ordered Not to Talk About Court Staff

(Bloomberg) -- The New York judge presiding over Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial ordered the former president’s lawyers to stop referring to his law clerk and other staffers, citing a flood of threatening and harassing emails and voice mails to his chambers in recent weeks.

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Judge Arthur Engoron on Friday expanded an earlier gag order against Trump to include lawyers representing the former president and his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, after the attorneys made “repeated inappropriate remarks” about the clerk in open court.

The ruling expands a partial gag order the judge imposed Oct. 3 on the former president, after Trump posted on social media an image of the law clerk and made false claims about her. Although Trump deleted the post, he was fined $5,000 for leaving it up on his website for weeks. He was fined another $10,000 for indirect comments he made about the clerk outside court.

Trump’s lawyers have consistently complained about the judge’s law clerk, accusing her of passing too many notes to the judge during the trial and at one point claiming she had rolled her eyes. On Thursday, the lawyers once again complained about the note passing and said they had found public information suggesting she was politically biased.

Before testimony in the trial began Friday, Engoron said his clerk was a civil servant who was helping him with the law.

“I have an absolute unrestricted unfettered right to get advice from my principal law clerk,” he said. “How that shows bias, I don’t see it.”

Engoron explained that comments by Trump and his lawyers had provoked a strong reaction since the non-jury trial began on Oct. 2.

“My chambers have inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters and packages,” the judge wrote.

The gag order in New York is one of two that judges have entered this year restricting what Trump can say publicly about the civil and criminal cases against him.

On Friday, a federal appeals court temporarily halted enforcement of a partial gag order on Trump in the federal election case being conducted by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Washington while a panel of judges decide whether to grant his request for a longer pause.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan had barred Trump from making statements targeting prosecutors, witnesses, and court staff involved in the election case. She denied his request to delay enforcing the speech limits while he appeals, and he’s now asked the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to immediately step in. The court set arguments for Nov. 20 on whether to keep the gag order on hold.

Trump’s lawyers have said they plan to petition the US Supreme Court to intervene if they lose again in the DC Circuit.

--With assistance from Zoe Tillman.

(Updates last four paragraphs with DC gag order being temporarily lifted by appeals court.)

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