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Judge in fraud trial imposes gag order after Trump attacks judge’s aide

NEW YORK — The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial issued a gag order Tuesday barring Trump from making comments about court staff after the former president posted a social media attack on the judge’s principal law clerk that included her photo.

“This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff,” said Justice Arthur Engoron, addressing Trump as he sat in the courtroom, about 15 feet from the clerk, Allison Greenfield.

“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron continued.

The judge said he had warned Trump Monday “off the record” about making such comments, but that Trump had ignored him. After Trump posted the material online Tuesday, Engoron ordered him to delete the post — and it quickly disappeared from Trump’s social media site, Truth Social.

“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”

Earlier Tuesday, Trump posted a message alleging Greenfield “is running this case against me.” The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.

“How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!” Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as “Schumer’s girlfriend.”

Several minutes later, Trump’s campaign sent out his social media post in an email blast.

Trump posted the claim about Greenfield while the trial was still in its morning session. Shortly after the court broke for lunch, the judge called the parties back, without allowing reporters to reenter. Court resumed following the lunch break and a 45-minute delay.

Since the start of the trial on Monday morning, Greenfield has been sitting immediately to the right of Engoron, which placed her directly facing Trump. She resumed that same seat Tuesday afternoon, as Engoron read the gag order.

Trump, his adult sons and his businesses are being sued for up to $250 million in penalties stemming from what New York authorities describe as persistent business fraud.

Greenfield has played a prominent role in the long-running proceedings related to the Trump Organization, particularly during a prelude to the current case last year when New York Attorney General Tish James, who filed the civil fraud lawsuit, sought to force Trump and his children Donald Jr. and Ivanka to testify over their objections. James also complained that the Trump businesses were foot-dragging in response to subpoenas.

The clerk took an active part in those proceedings, with Engoron often turning to her to question lawyers for each side. In addition, the judge rarely concluded a hearing without consulting with Greenfield about outstanding issues that he might wish to raise with the parties.

Engoron’s decision lands at the precise moment a federal judge in Washington, D.C. is weighing prosecutors’ request for a more severe gag order on Trump, whom they’ve accused of repeatedly harassing and intimidating witnesses, tainting the D.C. jury pool and fueling threats against prosecutors and the court in one of the four criminal cases he is facing.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan has scheduled an Oct. 16 hearing to consider the matter. Trump, despite being put on notice that prosecutors were seeking a gag order, posted a string of social media attacks on key witnesses in the Washington, D.C.-based federal case against him brought by special counsel Jack Smith. His most pointed attacks came against former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, who is expected to be a witness against him in both of his federal criminal cases.

Trump’s verbal assaults on judges, prosecutors and court personnel have already resulted in consequences in another one of his criminal cases, the New York state indictment brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The judge overseeing that case, Justice Juan Merchan, issued a protective order preventing Trump from receiving the names or other identifying information of personnel in Bragg’s office, other than prosecutors and law enforcement members, until the start of jury selection.

In requesting the protective order, prosecutors argued in a court filing that Trump “has a longstanding and perhaps singular history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, trial jurors, grand jurors, judges, and others involved in legal proceedings against him, putting those individuals and their families at considerable safety risk.”

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