Ad Code


New York Judge Lifts Trump Gag Order in Civil Fraud Trial, Citing Free Speech Concerns

A New York appeals court judge on Thursday temporarily lifted a gag order that barred former President Donald Trump from commenting on court staff in his civil fraud trial, citing concerns about restricting his free speech.

🔊 Listen to this article now

Former President Donald Trump leaves the courtroom for a lunch break during his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on November 06, 2023, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Judge David Friedman of the state's intermediate appeals court issued the stay, allowing Trump to comment freely about court staff while a longer appeals process plays out.

The gag order was imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing Trump's trial, in October after Trump and his allies harshly criticized the court clerk. Trump was fined $10,000 for violating the gag order, and the order was later expanded to include his attorneys.

In his decision, Friedman wrote that the gag order was "an overbroad restriction on Mr. Trump's First Amendment right to free speech." He noted that the gag order applied not only to statements made in court but also to statements made outside of court, including on social media.

Friedman also wrote that the gag order was not narrowly tailored to serve the court's interest in ensuring a fair trial. He noted that there were less restrictive means available to protect court staff, such as holding Trump in contempt of court if he made statements that were likely to interfere with the trial.

Trump's attorneys applauded the decision, calling it a "victory for free speech."

"The court recognized that the gag order was a clear First Amendment violation and that Mr. Trump has a right to defend himself," said Alina Habba, one of Trump's attorneys.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is prosecuting Trump, said that she was "disappointed" with the decision but that she respected the court's ruling.

"We are committed to ensuring that this trial is conducted fairly and impartially," James said in a statement.

The lifting of the gag order is a setback for James, who had argued that the order was necessary to protect court staff from harassment and intimidation.

It is unclear how the lifting of the gag order will affect the outcome of the trial. However, it is likely to allow Trump to more freely defend himself against the allegations of fraud.

Post a Comment