Judge expands gag order in Trump civil fraud case after Eric Trump ends testimony

Eric Trump exits the courthouse after testifying in the fifth week of the civil fraud trial against his father and former President Donald Trump at State Supreme Court on Thursday. Photo by Louis Lanzano /UPI
1 of 3 | Eric Trump exits the courthouse after testifying in the fifth week of the civil fraud trial against his father and former President Donald Trump at State Supreme Court on Thursday. Photo by Louis Lanzano /UPI | License Photo

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Judge Arthur Engoron expanded a limited gag order Friday to include attorneys in the New York state civil fraud trial involving former U.S. President Donald Trump and his two sons.

Engoron issued a written order explicitly prohibiting the Trumps' legal team from making any further comments regarding confidential communications between the judge and his staff within and outside the courtroom.


In issuing the order, Engoron said that his chambers has been inundated with "hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters and packages," and that the move was made to protect his staff.

Engoron said that defense attorneys Chris Kise, Alina Habba and Clifford Robert had engaged in "repeated and inappropriate comments" regarding his principal law clerk and made baseless allegations of bias.

This is the second gag order Engoron has issued in the case.


During the first week of the trial, Engoron imposed an order that barred Donald Trump from discussing his staff, following a social media post by Trump that targeted Engoron's clerk and included a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Engoron has fined the ex-president on two occasions for violating the order.

The expanded gag order came shortly after Eric Trump's two-day courtroom appearance concluded with just an hour on the witness stand Friday.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Amer questioned Eric Trump about Mar-a-Lago's tax assessment in 2021. He said he understood Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach to be a private residence.

However, his testimony contradicted earlier statements in the trial in which the Attorney General's office presented a document showing that Donald Trump relinquished his right to use the property for any purpose other than as a social club, CNN reported.

Proceedings ae expected to resume Monday, with Donald Trump expected to testify starting at 10 a.m. EST.

Eric Trump spoke to reporters after court adjourned, decrying the trial as a "witch hunt" and being politically motivated.

"We have an unbelievable company," he said, as reported by ABC. "We have some of the best assets anywhere in the world. We've never had a default. We've never missed a payment."


The case brought last September by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accuses Trump, his eldest sons and his family business of inflating Trump's net worth by more than $2 billion by overvaluing his real estate portfolio.

In related action, an appeals court denied Ivanka Trump's effort late Thursday to win a temporary stay to avoid testifying at her father's civil business fraud trial in New York. She was ordered to appear Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court for in-person testimony.

She had argued in her appeal that testifying in the middle of a school week would put "undue hardship" on her.

But in a single-sentence ruling without comment, an appeals court denied the motion to stay her testimony pending a full decision on her appeal.

The New York Appellate Division, First Department said, "Application for interim stay pending decision on the motion is denied."

That denied motion to stay the order for her testimony also sought to delay the entire trial.

James has called Ivanka Trump to testify and Engoron ordered her to appear for the testimony in person.

James's office is suing Donald Trump, the Trump Organization and Trump's sons for years of alleged systematic business fraud that involved inflating asset values.


Ivanka Trump was dropped as a defendant in the civil fraud trial by an earlier appeals court decision that ruled the statute of limitations had expired for pursuing claims against her.

In a response motion to Ivanka Trump's effort to avoid testifying, James said it was "utterly meritless."

James said that as a former Trump Organization executive vice president, Ivanka Trump "has firsthand knowledge of issues that are central to the ongoing trial."

James is seeking at least $250 million for the fraud that she asserts inflated Donald Trump's wealth by $2.2 billion.

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