Trump trial: Limited gag order for disparaging judge's principal law clerk on social media

Trump trial: Limited gag order for disparaging judge’s principal law clerk on social media

(As originally published with additional photos, Tue, October 3rd 2023, 4:44 PM EDT)

NEW YORK (TND) — There’s no longer a mystery about the closed-door meeting that took place during lunch on the second day of Donald Trump’s civil business fraud trial.

Trump and lawyers for both sides met with Judge Arthur Engoron, and Trump deleted a disparaging social media post he’d written in the morning about the judge’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield.

The post, on Trump’s Truth Social platform, included a photo of Greenfield with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. It’s believed Trump posted it to support his argument the case against him, members of his family, and his company is a political attack.

Engoron imposed a limited gag order that pertains to verbal attacks on court staff and applies to all parties in the case.

He said, without naming Trump, a defendant “posted to a social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally-identifying post about a member of my staff.”

He added, “Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, not appropriate” and not tolerated. Engoron also said it was he who ordered Trump’s post gone.

Monday, the businessman-turned-politician had said Greenfield, who sits by the judge’s side and frequently confers with him, “should not be allowed to be in his ear on every single question” and that she “hates Trump.”

The meeting delayed afternoon testimony.

Earlier Tuesday, the judge clarified what he said on opening day about a statute of limitations that Trump considered a victory.

Trump trial: Limited gag order for disparaging judge's principal law clerk on social media
Former President Donald Trump appears in court for a civil fraud case at a Manhattan courthouse, in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (Dave Sanders/Pool Photo via AP)

His legal team had argued that the time limit cuts off most of the case brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Monday, Judge Arthur Engoron suggested testimony about Trump’s 2011 financial statement might be too old. The document alleges Trump and his business chronically lied to banks, insurers, and others about his wealth.

But Tuesday, the judge said that “statutes of limitations bar claims, not evidence” and he’s inclined early in the trial to give both sides considerable leeway to connect older evidence to claims.

“I want to emphasize: This trial is not an opportunity to relitigate what I have already decided,” Engoron said. Last week, he ruled all the claims were allowable under the statute of limitations.

A lawyer for the attorney general’s office said the 2011 document shows Trump’s financial statements were prepared in the same manner, which gave Trump him and his company final say over the alleged overvalued figures for at least a decade.

Trump’s former accountant, Donald Bender, had testified Trump’s company supplied the numbers that went into the documents, and that each spreadsheet was marked “PBC,” for “prepared by client,” in big, red letters.

He also testified that in some years, the Trump Organization failed to provide the necessary documents for producing the statements, despite sending letters saying it provided all financial records.

“They were not giving all of the documents that we needed,” Bender testified, explaining that “there were certain appraisals out there for a number of years that we had never seen.”

Trump denies doing anything wrong, and reiterated the financial statements included disclaimers saying they weren’t audited and others with more information “might reach different conclusions” about his financial position.

“This case is a scam. It can’t be fraud when you’ve told institutions to do their own work,” Trump said Tuesday.

The attorney general wants $250 million from Trump, along with a ban on doing business in New York.

Trump and his two older sons are expected to be called as witnesses, and the trial — without a jury — is expected to continue into December.

Trump’s attacks on social media have gotten him in trouble before.

  • In August, he vowed to keep attacking special counsel Jack Smith and continue talking about his criminal cases despite prosecutors calling for a protective order to limit the evidence Trump and his team could share.

Nothing Trump says or does appears to be hurting his run to return to the White House. Voluntarily appearing at his trial “to watch this witch hunt myself,” as he put it Monday, as a victim of a politicized justice system made him the undisputed leader of the 2024 GOP primary.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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