Donald Trump has launched a fresh tirade on both the judge and court clerk in his New York civil fraud trial just hours after a gag order banning him from criticising court personnel was paused.
Judge Arthur Engoron had issued the gag order in the case after the former president made a series of false and disparaging remarks about his chief clerk of court Allison Greenfield both to reporters outside the courtroom and on his Truth Social account.
Mr Trump had already violated the gag order twice and incurred $15,000 in fines as a result.
The judge then expanded the order to include his attorneys after Mr Trump’s lead lawyer Christopher Kise also excoriated the clerk earlier this month for what he said was “bias” against his client, and amplified allegations outlined in a right-wing news website.
But on Thursday, Associate Justice David Friedman of the state’s intermediate appeals court agreed to temporarily lift the gag order, “considering the constitutional and statutory rights at issue”.
Now, Mr Trump is able to speak freely about court staff while the longer appeals process plays out.
Following the ruling, Mr Trump wasted little time in relaunching attacks on Judge Engoron, calling his actions “radical and unprecedented” – while also taking aim at the clerk at the centre of the initial gag order.
“Judge Arthur Engoron has just been overturned (stayed!) by the New York State Appellate Division (Appeals Court), for the 4th TIME (on the same case!). His Ridiculous and Unconstitutional Gag Order, not allowing me to defend myself against him and his politically biased and out of control, Trump Hating Clerk, who is sinking him and his Court to new levels of LOW, is a disgrace,” he wrote in a long Truth Social rant.
In his long social media rant, the former president again denounced New York Attorney General Letitia James for what he maintains is an “illegal Witch Hunt” against him.
“They are defending the Worst and Least Respected Attorney General in the United States, Letitia James, who is a Worldwide disgrace, as is her illegal Witch Hunt against me. The Radical and Unprecedented actions of Judge Engoron will keep BUSINESSES and JOBS forever out of New York State,” he said.
“I have done NOTHING WRONG, my numbers were low, not high, I have a COMPLETE DISCLAIMER CLAUSE, their Star Witness admitted he lied and made up this Fake case against me, and the the Attorney General used a “Get Trump” platform in order to run for A.G. & Governor (she failed!).”
The former president was referring to the allegations in the fraud trial that he inflated the value of his properties to obtain tax, loan and insurance incentives.
“This wicked attack on Democracy must be ended, NOW!” Mr Trump concluded.
Mr Trump’s attorney Mr Kise had earlier welcomed the ruling pausing the gag order, saying it restores his client’s right “to talk about bias in his own trial”. He lauded the temporary stay as the “right decision”.
Justice Friedman“allowed President Trump to take full advantage of his constitutional First Amendment rights to talk about bias in his own trial, what he’s seeing and witnessing in his own trial – which, frankly, everyone needs to see,” Mr Kise said.
The former president’s attorneys have been fighting against the gag order since it was imposed in early October, calling it unconstitutional and an abuse of power.
The lawsuit brought by Ms James alleges Mr Trump, his sons, the Trump Organization and its top executives exaggerated his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals.
The judge has already ruled that fraud was committed but the trial will determine what penalties Mr Trump must face.
AG James’ office is asking for $250m in fines and the potential dissolution of the Trump New York real estate empire.