Judge temporarily lifts gag order against Trump in civil fraud trial

by IANS |

Washington, Nov 17 (IANS) A US appeals court judge has temporarily lifted a gag order placed on former President Donald Trump in his ongoing civil fraud trial in New York.

In a written order on Thursday, Associate Justice David Friedman of the First Judicial Department said: “Considering the constitutional and statutory rights at issue an interim stay is granted," CNN reported.

The gag order on Trump was imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron to prevent the former President from making any statements about court staff, citing security risks.

His order came after Trump posted on social media a baseless allegation involving the judge’s principle law clerk.

The judge later extended the gag order to ban Trump’s attorneys from making any public statements about communications that the judge has with the law clerk.

Trump was also fined twice for a total of $15,000.

Earlier this week, Trump’s lawyers had asked for the emergency relief, arguing the gag order is infringing on his right to free speech, reports CNN.

Celebrating Thursday's development, Chris Kise, an attorney for Trump, said: “Fortunately, the constitution and the First Amendment protect everyone, including President Trump. The public will again have full access to what is taking place in this unprecedented trial.”

The civil fraud case strikes at the heart of the Trump Organization, his real estate empire.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the lawsuit, is suing the former President for $250 million and seeking to bar him from doing business in the state.

James, a Democrat, has alleged that the Trump Organization deceived lenders, insurers and tax authorities by inflating the value of his properties using misleading appraisals.

Meanwhile, Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for fraud.

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