Letitia James Asks Court To Shield Gag Order Against Trump’s Appeals


Amid trial on civil claims from New York state Attorney General Letitia James against the Trumps alleging a years-long pattern of business fraud, authorities are asking an intermediate court in the state to block the former president from taking his dispute over a gag order to New York’s highest court. The new filing was from an official serving under James.

The previous order blocks Trump from making attacks on court staff serving with trial Judge Arthur Engoron. Trump and others on his team had specifically singled out a clerk for the judge, with the former president at one point even directing followers of his to a social media account seemingly belonging to the antagonized clerk. The long history of Trump’s antagonistic rhetoric connecting to committed followers of his taking action clearly set up the possibility of serious threats — and indeed, Engoron’s court has faced threats as Trump has publicly ranted.

“The Court was entitled to conclude that the public interest in protecting the safety of Supreme Court’s staff and the integrity of trial proceedings far outweighed petitioners’ minimal interest in levying personal attacks against the court’s staff during trial,” a state official said, as highlighted by The Messenger. The filing added that “the challenged orders placed exceedingly narrow limits on comments that the parties and their counsel can make about Supreme Court’s staff during the ongoing trial in the enforcement action.” “Supreme Court” refers to Engoron’s court. In New York, the terminology is used for courts other than the state’s highest.

The new filing also references a follow-up order that blocked members of the Trump legal team from complaining about written communications shared between the clerk and the judge. Generally speaking, the idea from the Trump team was that the clerk — and these communications — were facilitating (alongside other factors) an improperly political slant to trial. Trump, meanwhile, was also recently put back under a gag order in his January 6-related criminal case that blocks attacks on witnesses connected to their involvement in the federal proceedings.