- Trump’s first gag order was issued two months ago during his NY fraud trial.
- Since then, appellate judges have briefly lifted, and hen reinstated the gag.
- On Monday, Trump’s side missed a deadline to ask New York’s highest court to lift the gag again.
For the past two months, Donald Trump’s New York gag order — which barred him from making statements involving the judge’s legal staff for his ongoing fraud trial — has been on, off, and on, where it has been. remained.
Bright and early Monday, his lawyers began an effort to appeal the gag order to the state’s highest court, arguing, “The continuing harms caused by unconstitutional Gag Orders to the rights of President Trump’s free speech and tens of millions of Americans don’t count.”
But because of a procedural snafu on Trump’s part — his lawyers filed paperwork asking for a single-judge appeal decision, instead of the required four-judge decision — the gag will remain. in place for at least the next week.
“A single judge cannot undo what a panel of judges has done,” court lawyer Lauren Holmes pointed out to Christopher Kise, the Florida lawyer Trump has a $3 million retainer for. Kise is a former solicitor general of the state of Florida but most recently of New York.
The window for hiring such a panel closes Monday at 10 a.m., meaning he’ll miss the deadline by five hours, Holmes told Kise and two other Trump lawyers. The three confronted Holmes on the marble countertop of the appellate division clerk’s office and were reduced to practically begging for a quick hearing.
“That’s the first?” Kise asked.
“Right,” the court lawyer replied forcefully.
Trump’s civil trial gag order is more accurately a partial gag. This allows Trump to say almost anything he wants about the trial. It even allowed him to attack the judge presiding over the non-jury trial, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.
But it prevented Trump from making public statements about any of Engoron’s legal staff, who first put the gag in place on Oct. 3, the second day of the trial.
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The gag was prompted by Trump’s heated, sometimes false attacks, online and directly in the press covering the trial, targeting Engoron’s chief law clerk, Allison Greenfield.
The gag, initially only on Trump, was expanded a month ago by his lawyers, who cannot comment on confidential communications between the judge and his legal staff.
Trump was fined $15,000 after violating the gag twice. In the months since Trump singled out Greenfield by name and photo, the judge and staff, especially Greenfield, have been inundated with threatening emails and phone calls from Trump supporters, the state court system reported.
Trump has also fought hard against his other gag order, the one issued in his federal election interference case in Washington, DC, which prohibits him from attacking potential witnesses.
The lawyers filed the do-over appeal request on Monday in a Manhattan appeals court in the morning. The papers are asking for “expedited” appellate court permission to kick the gag up to the New York Court of Appeals in Albany, where they hope it will come down for good.
An appeal in Albany can only happen if the lower appeals court in Manhattan gives its OK.
Trump’s effort – a 33-page “Mother, can it?” – asked the lower appeals court to make its decision on Wednesday.
A speedy decision that kicks things to Albany would prevent “a serious loss of the Constitution,” Trump’s filing argued.
“The petitioners respectfully request that this Court grant immediate leave to appeal,” Trump attorney Clifford Robert wrote in the request Monday.
“Expedited review by the Court of Appeals is essential to the rights and interests of the Petitioners and is necessary to remedy Justice Engoron’s ongoing violations of the United States Constitution, the Judiciary Act, and the Rules of this Court,” like this.
“Without expedited review,” Trump’s lawyers continued to tell the appeals court in Manhattan, “the petitioners will continue to suffer irreparable harm every day, as they are silenced on matters involving the appearance of bias and inappropriateness of the bench during a trial of many stakes.”
But all of this will have to wait until next Monday, December 11, which, coincidentally, is the day Trump is scheduled to testify in what will be his second time in a fraud trial.
That’s the first four-judge panel of the lower appeals court to begin weighing whether to send the gag question to Albany. At that point, a decision would be expedited, and could be made within a day or two, Holmes told Kise.
Trump’s side has claimed in public statements and legal documents that Greenfield was improperly “co-judging” the trial, a claim made without evidence, beyond that the judge and clerk, who sat side by side, sometimes spoke quietly to the bench during the trial.