Donald Trump has been told to watch what he says and posts, or risk ending up behind bars for up to a month.
In the second day of the former POTUS’ financial fraud trial, Judge Arthur Engoron Tuesday just issued a limited gag order against everyone in the civil case to stop verbal and social media posted swipes at members of his staff.
“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, not appropriate” the very unhappy Judge made clear of after Trump took an underhanded partisan swing at Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield on his Truth Social platform. Calling what Trump did, “a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff,” the judge only cited “one of the defendants” as the one behind the post — but there was no secret who he was referring to.
The now deleted post showed Greenfield in a picture standing next to current Senate Majority leader and fellow New Yorker Chuck Schumer and calls her “Schumer’s girlfriend.” A Trump specialty, the partisan taint has been a common tactic during the prosecution of the case by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat.
With his long history of going on the offence, today is remarkably the first time any judge has put the restraints of a gag order on the combative Trump, who is in attendance for the second day in a row at the trial.
Stating there could be “serious sanctions” if his order is not adhered to, the judge demanded Trump to take the offending post down – which the past and current GOP candidate did fairly quickly. To underline the seriousness of his intentions, Judge Engoron’s threatened sanctions could include fines, more restrictions and even 30 days behind bars for Trump if he violates the order.
In this civil fraud case, Trump, two of his offspring and their companies have been accused of vastly overvaluing assets and the self-proclaimed billionaire’s true worth as the one-time real estate developer went after financing from banks and other institutions. Judge Engoron ruled on much of the case last week, concluding that the former president committed fraud and stripping the Trumps of the control they had over a fair share of their Big Apple real estate holdings.
The bench trial going on right now itself is primarily to determine damages. Having filed the case in September 2022, the NY AG wants the Trumps to fork over up to $250 million.
This gag order today in New York state court comes as the vitriolic former Celebrity Apprentice faces a pending motion in another indictment in federal court in DC that seeks to curtail what Trump can say and post about that matter and officials involved in it. Of course, anyone who thinks Donald Trump is going to stop attacking judge, staff, and the courts online, on the campaign trail or in front of the cameras or fundraising off it has been living in a cave for the past several years.
A defendant in four criminal cases, as well as this civil case in the Empire State, Trump lives for snapping back at any attempt to limit his behavior – though maybe the threat of prison might curb that, for a while.