TRUMP GAGGED: Judge Issues Limited Gag Order After Trump Makes Disparaging Post About Court Clerk

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media before entering the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A New York judge imposed a limited gag order on defendant Donald Trump Tuesday after the former president disparaged a key court staffer during his civil business fraud trial.

Judge Arthur Engoron issued the order, which applies to all parties in the case and pertains only to verbal attacks on court staff. It came after Trump recirculated a disparaging social media post about Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield.

Without naming Trump, Engoron said that a defendant in the case “posted to a social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.” He added that “personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, not appropriate” and not tolerated.

Trump had already deleted the post. Engoron said he ordered it gone.

The post included a photo of Greenfield with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at a campaign event. Trump, the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, has repeatedly cast the lawsuit and trial as a political attack by New York’s Democratic attorney general, Letitia James.

Trump also commented on the clerk on Monday, saying that she “should not be allowed to be in his ear on every single question” and “hates Trump.”

The gag order came after Trump and lawyers for both sides repeatedly went into court behind closed doors during a lunch break.

With Trump attending the trial for a second day, James’ attorney questioned an accountant in an effort to build the state’s case that Trump and others at his company had full control over the preparation of misleading and downright false financial statements at the heart of the lawsuit against them.

And Engoron set the record straight about a comment that the ex-president had touted as an important victory.

Engoron had suggested on Monday that testimony about Trump’s 2011 financial statement might be beyond the legal time limit applicable to Attorney General James’ lawsuit. It alleges that Trump and his business chronically lied about his wealth on financial statements given to banks, insurers and others.

The relevant statute of limitations rules out claims related to activities before a date in 2014, and rump’s legal team has argued that the time limit cuts off most of the case.

Engoron said Tuesday that “statutes of limitations bar claims, not evidence” and that at the trial’s early stage, he’s inclined to give both sides considerably leeway to connect older evidence to claims in the lawsuit.

“I want to emphasize: This trial is not an opportunity to relitigate what I have already decided,” Engoron said. He ruled last week that all the claims were allowable under the statute of limitations.

A lawyer for James’ office, Kevin Wallace, went on to suggest that he was using the 2011 document to show that Trump’s financial statements were prepared in the same manner — giving him and his company the final say over the valuations that appeared — for at least a decade.

Donald Bender, an accountant who prepared the financial statements for years, testified that Trump’s company supplied the numbers that went into the documents. Each spreadsheet was marked “PBC,” for “prepared by client,” in big, red letters, Bender said.

Bender testified that in some years, the Trump Organization failed to provide all documents necessary for producing the statements, despite attesting in letters to the account firm that it had provided all financial records.

“They were not giving all of the documents that we needed,” Bender testified, explaining that “there were certain appraisals out there for a number of years that we had never seen.”

Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, said during one court break that he thought the trial was “going very well.” He reiterated key points of his defense, including that the financial statements bore disclaimers saying that they weren’t audited and that others “might reach different conclusions” about his financial position if they had more information.

“This case is a scam. It can’t be fraud when you’ve told institutions to do their own work,” Trump said Tuesday.

After Monday’s sometimes fiery opening statements, Tuesday’s testimony was so plodding that Bender twice let out a long breath on the stand.

Trump plans to testify later in the trial, but he doesn’t have to attend it now. While grumbling that he’d rather be on the campaign trail, the Republican former president and 2024 GOP front-runner has used the waiting cameras in a courthouse hallway as a microphone for political messaging. He claims that James, a Democrat, is wielding the justice system as a political cudgel to hobble his ongoing campaign.

James scored an early victory when Engoron, a Democrat, ruled last week that Trump committed fraud by exaggerating the size of his penthouse at Trump Tower, claiming his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida was worth as much as $739 million and putting similar oversized valuations on office towers, golf courses and other assets.

The non-jury trial concerns six remaining claims in the lawsuit and how much Trump might owe in penalties. James is seeking $250 million and a ban on Trump doing business in New York. The judge has already ruled that some of Trump’s companies should be dissolved as punishment.

Trump’s lawyers said the financial statements were legitimate representations of the worth of unique luxury properties, made even more valuable because of their association with Trump.



  1. So do the court marshals take out a roll of duct tape and use it before he leaves the courtroom this afternoon?? If so, they should be certain they have first received a rabies shot.

  2. Ah, will this wind up like the old Chicago 7 trial and Judge Hoffman? “…so your brothers bound and gagged and they’ve chained him to a chair’…

  3. The order is blatantly, brazenly unconstitutional. The judge should be impeached for making it. Courts are authorized to restrict people’s speech for the sole purpose of preventing the jury pool from being tainted. They are NOT authorized to do so in order to spare their staff’s feelings.

    A court clerk is not entitled to be immune from criticism, whether justified or not. There’s no evidence before us that Trump’s accusation wasn’t justified, but that’s irrelevant; whether what he posted was true or false, the constitution protects his right to post it.

    Yaacov Doe, Trump doesn’t think everyone hates him. But he KNOWS that YOU hate him, and so does every one of your fellow Democrats, including this judge.

  4. Milhouse,

    I hope Trump reads your post so that he can do it again and be sanctioned severely or even thrown in jail. He already lost this fraud case. The judge ruled that he engaged in fraud.
    Even if Trump or his 3rd rate lawyers don’t read your post , he will probably do it again in this trial or in one of the other of his trials.
    When he suffers the legitimate legal and constitutional consequences for his actions, it might actually dawn on him how much serious trouble he is in.

  5. Milhouse: Surprised at your comments since you are normally quite aware of court procedures and legal precedents. In this case, NYS rules provide considerable flexibility for a judge to issues orders restricting the actions of both prosecutors and defendants that might jeopardize the conduct of the proceedings or safety of members of the Court’s, including judges, clerks, marshals, bailiffs and administrative staff. Its not a question of “hurting the feelings” of individuals….its inviting a demonstrated unhinged bunch of MAGA chasidim to take actions or pose physical threats against individuals. The order issued yesterday by the Judge was actually quite narrow compared to more expansive orders restricting comments in prior trials.

  6. GHD and Jackk continue in their usual way of lying and corruption. The order is brazenly unconstitutional. Trump has every right to make whatever accusation he likes against a court clerk, and the judge has no right to restrict him from doing so. This is ENTIRELY about the feelings of this clerk, and she is not special. Her feelings are not entitled to any more protection than yours or mine. That the judge made the order proves how corrupt he is; he has abused his power and needs to be brought to heel.

    No, Trump can’t just ignore this illegal order; unfortunately that’s not how it works. Even an invalid court order must be obeyed until it is overturned by a higher court. And unfortunately the system for disciplining judges who make invalid orders is not what it should be, so it’s very unlikely that this corrupt judge will receive the punishment he deserves. That’s just how it is; maybe if Trump gets a second term he’ll work with Congress to reform the laws governing federal judges and provide better avenues for making and investigating complaints against them.