Donald Trump’s lawsuit to shut down Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s gag orders, which the former president said were “unconstitutional,” failed to sway the appellate court on Thursday.
The Supreme Court of New York, First Appellate Department’s order, just a few paragraphs in length, refused to keep an interim stay of the gag orders in place:
A petition having been filed with this Court on November 15, 2023, seeking to annul and vacate pursuant to CPLR 7803(2) and (3): (1) orders of the Supreme Court, New York County, entered on or about October 20, 2023 and on or about October 26, 2023 constituting summary findings of contempt against petitioner Donald J. Trump; (2) a “gag order” of the same court and justice entered on the record on or about October 03, 2023, and so-ordered on or about October 26, 2023, and a “supplemental limited gag order” of the same court and justice entered on or about November 03, 2023,
And petitioners having moved to stay enforcement of the aforesaid gag order and supplemental limited gag order pending hearing and determination of the instant petition,
Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon,
It is ordered that the motion is denied; the interim relief granted by order of a Justice of this Court, dated November 16, 2023, is hereby vacated.
Days ago, Trump lawyers reiterated their position that the gag orders should remain stayed until the Article 78 suit against Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) was decided on the merits.
Trump asserted that Engoron abused his authority to silence protected speech and committed “brazen” violations of both the U.S. Constitution and New York’s Constitution in doing so.
Engoron barred the parties in the case from verbally attacking the judge’s court staff, particularly Engoron’s Principal Law Clerk Allison Greenfield, and prohibited Trump attorneys Christopher Kise, Clifford Robert, and Alina Habba from “making any public statements, in or out of court, that refer to any confidential communications, in any form, between [the judge’s] staff and [the judge].”
Associate Justice David Friedman of the Appellate Division, First Department, previously issued a temporary stay of the gag orders, citing the “constitutional and statutory rights at issue,” and set dates for briefing.
In the ensuing days, lawyers for the state and Trump submitted dueling filings in the case.
A lawyer also weighed in on Engoron’s behalf, writing that Trump and his team “have no likelihood of success on the merits.”
“[I]t is unquestionable that the conduct engaged in by Petitioners — the deluge of the court’s chambers phone and the law clerk’s personal cell phone, personal emails and social media accounts with hundreds of threatening, harassing, disparaging and antisemitic messages — which threatens the safety of court staff is the type of countervailing interest being served that warrants the imposition of the limited gag orders imposed by the Court,” said Lisa Evans, deputy counsel in Office of Court Administration and of counsel to Engoron’s lawyer David Nocenti. “The First Amendment does not prohibit courts from limiting speech that threatens the safety of the court’s staff. Courts have broad discretion to control the conduct of litigants and attorneys in ongoing proceedings.”
According to The Messenger’s Adam Klasfeld, Engoron has already acknowledged the ruling, saying in court: “I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously, and I want to make sure counsel inform their clients.”
Trump’s attorney Chris Kise says he’s aware and adds:
“It’s a tragic day for the rule of law.”
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) November 30, 2023
Trump lawyer Christopher Kise reportedly responding by characterizing the ruling as un-American.
“In a country where the First Amendment is sacrosanct, President Trump may not even comment on why he thinks he cannot get a fair trial,” Kise said, CBS News reported. “Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America.”
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]