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Appeals court rejects Trump's challenge of N.Y. civil trial gag order

An appellate court on Thursday rejected Former U.S. President Donald Trump's latest attempt to remove a gag order that bars him and his staff from commenting on court staff. Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI
An appellate court on Thursday rejected Former U.S. President Donald Trump's latest attempt to remove a gag order that bars him and his staff from commenting on court staff. Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A New York appeals court has again rejected Donald Trump's latest attempt to strike down a partial gag order that bars him and his staff from speaking publicly about the presiding judge's staff in his $250 million civil fraud case.

The four-judge panel rejected Trump's ask to remove the gag order, stating in its ruling Thursday that his counsel had used an incorrect procedure to challenge it.

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The panel added that his counsel should have used the "proper method of review," and if then their request is rejected, they could again challenge it at a higher court.

The court added the writ of prohibition his council had asked for is "an extraordinary remedy," and in determining whether it is warranted, several factors must be consider, including the degree of harm caused if the request is denied.

"Here, the gravity of potential harm is small, given that the gag order is narrow, limited to prohibiting solely statements regarding the court's staff," the panel said.

The gag order was initially issued Oct. 3 in response to Trump making inflammatory comments on his social media platform Truth Social about one of presiding Judge Arthur Engoron's clerks. It was then expanded to include his counsel on Nov. 3.

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The orders were then lifted by a New York appeals court on Nov. 16, but only to be reinstated on Nov. 30.

The appellate court on Thursday also separately rejected Trump's request for a higher court to review his appeal.

"We filed the petition because the ordinary appellate process is essentially pointless in this context as it cannot possibly be completed in time to reverse the ongoing harm," Chris Kise, one of Trump's lawyers, said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the decision denies President Trump the only path available to expedited relief and places his fundamental Constitutional rights in a procedural purgatory."

The former president is standing trial in a $250 million civil case brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accuses Trump and the Trump Organization of committing financial fraud by inflating their net worth by more than $2 billion by overvaluing their property.

Following 11 weeks of trial, the state rested its case Wednesday with closing arguments to begin Jan. 11.

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