First Amendment

As 1 judge temporarily lifts Trump gag order, another says he's 'way beyond' warning stage

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Former President Donald Trump appears in court for a civil fraud case at a Manhattan courthouse in New York City on Oct. 3. Photo by Dave Sanders via the Associated Press.

Former President Donald Trump had one temporary win and one loss last week as judges considered gag orders that they had imposed.

Judge Arthur Engoron of New York fined Trump $5,000 for violating his gag order, declaring in an Oct. 20 ruling that he was “way beyond the ‘warning’ stage,” the Associated Press reports.

Engoron is hearing the civil case by the state of New York alleging that Trump inflated the value of his property in fraudulent statements provided to lenders and insurers.

The fine relates to a post on Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, in which Trump named Engoron’s law clerk, claimed that she was politically biased, and asserted that she was “running this case against me.” The post was deleted from Truth Social, but it remained on Trump’s website for 17 days, Engoron said.

Trump’s lawyers had said the error was inadvertent and an “unfortunate part of the process that is built into the campaign structure.” Engoron called the fine “nominal” and said future violations could lead to more severe penalties.

A second judge who issued a Trump gag order, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan of Washington, D.C., has agreed to a temporary stay while she considers whether to pause her order during Trump’s appeal on the issue, report CNN, the New York Times and the Associated Press.

Chutkan is overseeing the federal case accusing Trump of election subversion.

Chutkan, a federal judge, had imposed the gag order from the bench and in an Oct. 17 opinion. She barred Trump from making public statements that target special counsel Jack Smith, the defense lawyers and their staff members, court staff members and any reasonably foreseeable witness.

Chutkan’s order does not prevent Trump from criticizing the government and from making statements asserting that the prosecution is politically motivated.

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