Appeals court rebuffs Trump’s challenge to New York gag order

Trump’s legal team chose the process that was rejected by the panel “because the ordinary appellate process is essentially pointless in this context,” Trump attorney Chris Kise said. An ordinary appeal, he said, “cannot possibly be completed in time to reverse the ongoing harm.” Kise added that the panel’s decision “denies President Trump the only path available to expedited relief and places his fundamental constitutional rights in a procedural purgatory.”

The ruling doesn’t change the status of the gag order, which was reinstated on Nov. 30 after a brief pause put into effect earlier that month by one of the judges on the New York appeals court, known as the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department. The gag order against Trump, as well as a separate gag that bars attorneys from commenting about court staff, have been a long-running focus of the 11-week trial in which Trump is accused of fraudulently inflating his net worth.

The initial gag order came just days after the trial started, when Trump posted a disparaging social media message about the judge’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield, who sits alongside the judge, Justice Arthur Engoron, on the bench. Engoron found that Trump subsequently violated the gag order twice, issuing him two fines totaling $15,000.

Following a series of complaints by Trump’s lawyers about Greenfield, Engoron later issued a second gag order prohibiting all lawyers working on the trial from making statements about communications between himself and his staff.

Trump is also subject to a broader gag order in his federal criminal case in Washington, D.C., where he is charged with conspiring to subvert the 2020 election. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court largely upheld that gag order, which prohibits Trump from denigrating key witnesses in the case or commenting on prosecutors or court staff in ways that could interfere with the trial.

Though testimony in the civil fraud trial ended Wednesday, closing arguments won’t occur until mid-January.

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