Restriction on Disclosure of Judge’s Internal Communications Enforced in Trump Civil Fraud Case

by Chloe Baker
Trump civil fraud trial

In the ongoing civil fraud trial involving Donald Trump, the presiding judge has mandated a prohibition on attorneys discussing “confidential communications” related to his court staff. This development follows an objection by Trump’s legal team alleging that a court clerk’s conduct is adversely affecting the trial.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing the case, has threatened “serious sanctions” against any breach of this order. The directive builds upon a previous gag order that restrained public commentary about court employees. While the initial order did not explicitly encompass the attorneys, Judge Engoron indicated on Thursday his intention to extend the order’s scope.

The case escalated in visibility on the same day Eric Trump, the ex-president’s son and a senior figure in the Trump organization, concluded his deposition. Eric Trump stated his complete dependence on the counsel of attorneys and accountants for verifying the financial statements pivotal to the litigation brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The lawsuit filed by the state claims that Trump, along with his enterprise, misled banks and insurance companies by inflating his wealth in financial disclosures. Trump, with his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., has rejected these claims.

Donald Trump, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2024 election, is slated to testify on Monday. The case puts his real estate business, the foundation of his fame and political ascent, at risk.

This extension of the gag order comes after criticism was directed at the judge’s main law clerk, Allison Greenfield, who has found herself at the center of unexpected controversy during the trial.

Judge Engoron has cited a deluge of hostile communications towards his staff as the impetus for the order, prioritizing their safety over the First Amendment rights of the defendants and their counsel.

Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, through spokesperson Erica Knight, criticized the lawsuit as an attempt to quash a significant political adversary, suggesting that it casts a shadow over the judicial system’s integrity.

Earlier, Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, reiterated concerns about the clerk’s interactions with the judge during witness examinations. Although the specifics of these exchanges remain undisclosed, the defense posits that their frequency hints at a prejudicial influence against them.

Kise expressed the sentiment of facing multiple opponents in the courtroom, referring to objections from the government and the judge’s clerk.

The judge has refuted allegations of bias and affirms his right to his clerk’s counsel.

In a separate but related incident, a federal appeals court lifted a gag order on Trump in a case related to interference in the 2020 elections.

Back in New York, Kise pressed on the need for a clear record if the judge is receiving biased advice, which is critical for appellate purposes.

Kevin Wallace, representing James’ office, dismissed the concerns regarding the clerk as a diversionary tactic meant to disrupt the trial’s progress.

This recent judicial instruction comes after the original gag order, which was a response to Trump’s disparaging remarks about Greenfield on social media, leading to penalties imposed by the court.

Both Trump sons serve as executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization and as trustees managing the business during their father’s presidency.

Echoing his brother’s earlier testimony, Eric Trump assured the court of his reliance on reputable financial and legal experts for the accuracy of the documents.

Outside the courtroom, Eric Trump labeled the lawsuit as wasteful and unfounded, confidently stating the family’s expectation of victory.

Reported from Boston by Alanna Durkin Richer of Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Trump civil fraud trial

What prompted the judge to enforce a gag order in Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial?

The judge enforced a gag order to prevent attorneys from commenting on confidential communications between the judge and his staff, following claims that a clerk was negatively influencing the trial.

Why did Eric Trump testify in the civil fraud trial?

Eric Trump testified to clarify that he relied entirely on accountants and lawyers to ensure the accuracy of financial documents crucial to the case.

What are the allegations against Donald Trump and his company?

The allegations assert that Trump and his company deceived banks and insurers by overstating his wealth in annual financial statements.

When is Donald Trump expected to testify?

Donald Trump is scheduled to testify on Monday following his son Eric’s testimony.

How has the Trump legal team responded to the clerk’s notes to the judge?

Trump’s legal team has raised concerns that the frequency and content of the clerk’s notes to the judge may indicate a bias against their case.

What is the significance of the federal appeals court’s decision regarding a separate gag order on Trump?

The federal appeals court temporarily lifted a gag order in Trump’s 2020 election interference case, allowing him to maintain his innocence and claim political motivation behind the case, but still restricting comments about prosecutors, court staff, and potential witnesses.

More about Trump civil fraud trial

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Markus67 November 4, 2023 - 3:57 am

saw something about this on the news, the judges clerk getting threats? thats insane, this politic stuff is getting out of hand

JakeT November 4, 2023 - 5:51 am

so they gaggin lawyers now, trump’s team must be fuming…wonder how this is all gonna play out

TheRealist November 4, 2023 - 10:25 am

Eric’s confident they’re gonna win, but i’ll believe it when i see it, these cases are never cut and dry

SandyBeach November 4, 2023 - 4:43 pm

where’s the transparency??? We have a right to know what those notes are saying, don’t we?

Karen_in_NY November 5, 2023 - 12:33 am

every day theres something new with this trial, cant keep up! did eric trump really say he knew nothing about the finances?


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