A New York judge has lifted the gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump in his civil fraud trial stemming from state Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him and the Trump Organization.
Citing concerns over free speech, appeals court Judge David Friedman issued a stay on the order Thursday, which was put in place by Judge Arthur Engoran in October.
Engoron, who is overseeing Trump’s trial, imposed the partial gag order to block all parties from making derogatory statements about his court staff. He fined Trump $5,000 for violating the order on social media on Oct. 20, and did so again on Oct. 25 for another $10,000 before threatening imprisonment if further violations were committed.
At Thursday’s emergency hearing, Friedman questioned Engoron’s authority to limit Trump’s speech outside the courtroom, and argued gag orders were used more in criminal trials where there is a fear of swaying a jury. The ruling also applies to Trump’s lawyers, who say they have no plans to inhibit the former president’s First Amendment rights.