Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) declared a victory after a New York appeals court temporarily lifted a gag order barring former President Trump and his attorneys from talking about the trial judge’s staff in his New York civil fraud case.
“I am pleased to see that after my ethics complaint to the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct against Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron, an appellate court has lifted the unconstitutional gag order against President Trump,” Stefanik’s statement said.
The court’s order follows an emergency lawsuit filed Wednesday by Trump’s legal team, who claimed the gag orders “cast serious doubt” on Engoron’s ability to serve as an “impartial finder of fact” when overseeing Trump’s case.
Trump’s team requested an interim stay of Engoron’s gag orders and the sanctions that resulted from his violation of them. The orders stemmed from an online attack the former president made on the judge’s principal law clerk.
Trump has made several comments about the clerk, posting information personally identifying her online. Engoron has fined Trump $15,000 for various violations and unexpectedly called the former president to the witness stand to explain himself over a comment he made.
In the decision Thursday, the appeals judge expressed concern that the gag orders restricted Trump’s free speech, meaning he can now comment freely on Engoron’s staff while the appeals process happens.
Stefanik, a staunch supporter of the former president, filed a judicial ethics complaint last week against Engoron, claiming the judge has shown “inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance” toward the former president and called for him to resign.
In her statement, Stefanik said, “We must fight to protect all defendants’ First Amendment and due-process rights.” The issue is “so much bigger” than Trump, she argued.
“If Democrats can do this to a billionaire, former President, and leading presidential candidate, just imagine what they can do to the rest of us,” her statement said. “That’s why I filed my ethics complaint against Judge Engoron, and I will continue to fight for all New Yorkers.”
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