Judge Issues Partial Gag Order Against Trump After Threatening Social Media Post
On Tuesday, Judge Arthur Engoron issued a partial gag order on former President Donald Trump during his civil trial for business fraud. The order came after Trump attacked one of the judge’s clerks in a social media post. Judge Engoron warned that there would be severe sanctions if Trump violated the order.
On Monday, the judge questioned if a lengthy witness testimony about the financial documents from 2011 was a “waste of time,” because the statute of limitations being applied to the case was no longer valid. Engoron noted that according to the ruling of a state appellate court, the statute of limitations only allowed allegations leveled in or after 2014 to apply in the case.
The judge made this comment while responding to the testimony from former Mazars account Donald Bender. “I trust that you can relate the 2011 documents to something that happened later. Or this has all been a waste of time,” Engoron told the lawyers representing the attorney general.
Trump was present at the court during the $250 civil fraud trial against him, his eldest sons, their companies and Trump Organization executives in New York.
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However, Engoron did allow the witness testimony about the 2011 financial documents after the attorney general’s office suggested they would connect the testimony to allegations that remain within the statute of limitations.
Bender will return for a second day of testimony on Tuesday.
The former President gave a thumbs up as the defense agreed with the judge’s observation. While speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Trump said that the judge’s remark was a small win for him, as it acknowledged the statute of limitations that had been set by the appeals court. He also criticized New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying that she was targeting him instead of violent crime.
Endrogon’s remarks issued on Monday are in contradiction with his ruling last week, when he said that the fraudulent statements of financial condition remained relevant in the case despite the transactions being completed before 2014, because they were filed within the applicable statute of limitations. Whether or not the judge will suspend his earlier ruling remains unknown at this time.
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