The judge overseeing the New York civil fraud case against former U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday issued a gag order barring all lawyers from making public statements about the judge’s communications with his staff.
Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan issued the order after defense lawyers made repeated objections about the working relationship between him and his principal law clerk, including suggestions that she was biased. Trump himself has also accused her of bias.
In his order, Engoron said he had an “unfettered right” to consult with his staff members throughout the trial, and that a gag order was intended to protect their safety.
“The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is far and away outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm,” Engoron wrote, referring to the U.S. Constitution’s free speech protections.
Failure to honor the gag order, the judge said, “shall result in serious sanctions.”
The order was issued after Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump testified this week. Their father is expected to testify on Monday.
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