Trump Under Gag Order, Deletes Post
Minutes after former President Donald Trump made controversial comments on a judge’s clerk on social media, a New York City court issued a gag order forbidding everyone involved in the ongoing criminal fraud case against Trump and his company from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly” about the court’s staff.
The order imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron marks the first gag order placed on Trump amid several legal troubles and could potentially have far-fetching implications for other cases that Trump is facing as well. Meanwhile, US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan is also considering the possibility of a gag order in his federal election case.
Legal experts call Engoron’s decision a game changer of sorts, with both Rosenzweig and Katyal predicting that the gag order would pave the way for Chutkan to issue an order in case of the federal election case too. The gag order is “a bigger deal than it appears because it breaks the dam” when it comes to gag orders by judges on Trump, Rosenzweig told the Messenger, adding that court disciplines watch the proceeding of others and learn.
The gag order is also deemed as an alarm signal for Trump. Engoron issued the order after Trump posted on Truth Social, sharing the Instagram account of one of Engoron’s clerks and a photograph with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Trump called the clerk Schumer’s “girlfriend” in the now-deleted post.
Former federal prosecutor Weinstein thinks that Trump’s social media act was inciteful as is now under scrutiny in the criminal indictments and this might have a “domino effect” on his other troubles as well.
Katyal told CNBC that the gag order is likely to ignite a scrimmage over a gag order in Trump’s federal election case and order is almost inevitable as the court “can’t tolerate this”.
Trump, who is mired in multiple litigations, has been aggressively confronting judges prosecuting his cases, which brought up apprehensions among the judiciary. He is being sued four times, including in a federal election case. Investigations allege Trump of fraudulently inflating asset value to negotiate favorable business deals and augment his net worth. He faces a civil trial in New York for his behavior and the prosecutor, New York Attorney General Letitia James has brought the case against him and his firm, the Trump Organization.
While Engoron has yet to specify the consequence of breaching the gag order, attorney Norm Eisen, former Special Counsel Jack Smith, and attorney Bernard Alexander hold varying opinions. Eisen opined that Trump might face financial reprisal for his first transgression and more severe detriments later on. In contrast, Smith expressed the more serious ones Ernst might face when being financially unabashed due to being relatively superfluously wealthy. Alexander believes the court would need creative solutions to dole out Trump's damages since Trump’s extravagant wealth would not be impacted by monetary penalties.
Trump will have to enter the courtroom of Tanya Chutkan on October 16th, when he meets for his election fraud case. The court will ultimately decide whether Trump shall be admonished from publicly commenting on the cases that concern him.