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Legal analyst says gag order appeal was rejected because “Trump screwed up”

A New York appellate court on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn gag orders in his civil fraud case that prohibited him from attacking the principal law clerk of the presiding state judge, The Messenger reports. In a four-page ruling, the New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department stated that “the gravity of potential harm is small, given that the Gag Order is narrow, limited to prohibiting solely statements regarding the court’s staff” and noted that Trump’s method of making the request “is not the proper vehicle” for challenging gag and contempt orders.

“The appellate court rules that Trump’s petition for a writ of prohibition was improper. Instead, Trump has to move to vacate the contempt orders and then appeal the denial of those motions if he wants to seek appellate relief,” MSNBC legal analyst Katie Phang wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “In other words, Trump screwed up.” Since the second day of his civil fraud trial, Oct. 3, 2023, Trump has been under a gag order barring him from making statements about court staff after he attacked the judge’s principal law clerk on Truth Social.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has since fined Trump twice for violating that order — penalties that amount to $15,000 — and expanded it to include Trump’s defense team. “Another court rules that judges can protect the integrity of their proceedings & the safety of people involved in them with a gag order,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance tweeted of the appellate court’s ruling. “And when courts uphold these orders, they are implicitly saying judges can enforce them if they are violated.”

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