A New York appeals court on Thursday reinstated the gag order in Donald Trump’s business fraud trial, ending a two-weeks-long flood of vitriol that hit shocking heights, even for the former president.
Trump wasted no time attacking Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the fraud trial, as well as Engoron’s law clerk, after an individual appellate judge put the gag order on hold as Trump’s legal team appealed the decision. A four-judge panel finally halted the verbal onslaught Thursday.
Engoron commented in court that the ruling also reinstates a separate gag order he had imposed on Trump’s lawyers. “I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously, and I want to make sure that counsel informs their clients of the fact that the stay was vacated,” he said.
Trump’s attorney Chris Kise said he was aware of the ruling and complained, “It’s a tragic day for the rule of law.”
The task of this particular litigation is to set damages; Engoron determined back in September that Trump had committed fraud. The New York attorney general accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans.
Engoron ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state—a move that might effectively mean the demise of the Trump Organization.
Since the trial’s early days, Trump has aimed considerable amounts of ire at Engoron and his law clerk, Allison Greenfield. Trump’s lawyers even requested a mistrial, arguing Greenfield had been given an inappropriately prominent role in the trial, despite the fact that she is a trained lawyer. Law clerks also usually do most of the research for a trial and draft court orders, which the judge then signs.
Engoron saddled Trump and his lawyers with gag orders over the former president’s repeated attacks. He also fined Trump a total of $15,000 for violating that gag order twice.
After the individual appellate judge lifted the gag order on November 16, it took Trump just a few hours to start ranting about Engoron and Greenfield on social media. He wrote on TruthSocial that Greenfield is a “politically biased and out of control, Trump hating clerk” and a “disgrace” who is “sinking” Engoron and his court “to new levels of low.”
Trump only escalated from there. Just Wednesday, he claimed that several posts on X (formerly Twitter) about his prospects of serving jail time had been made by Engoron’s wife. The posts were first discovered by Laura Loomer, a far-right activist and Trump fan.
“Judge Engoron’s Trump Hating wife, together with his very disturbed and angry law clerk, have taken over control of the New York State Witch Hunt Trial aimed at me, my family, and the Republican Party,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
It is not clear who made the posts, but Dawn Engoron has previously said she does not have an X account.