December 1 – Former President Donald Trump has been facing civil charges of fraud for allegedly inflating the worth of his assets in New York City for the last few weeks now.
The trial, which is understandably fiery, has seen a lot of back-and-forth between witnesses and prosecutors.
It’s a bench trial, not a jury trial.
Judge Arthur Engoron has issued gag orders on Trump following his posts on Truth Social and comments he has made about the clerk of courts. Trump has been fined for not following the orders.
Just yesterday, the limited gag order had been reinstated by the judge.
Trump will likely appeal this decision, too.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “I have no idea how this judge can pull any of this stuff off, but only in New York.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Remember early in the case, Trump started posting all of these tweets or in his case it was on Truth Social regarding the judge’s staff. He put a picture up of the judge’s law clerk. Some of the evidence yesterday is the judge’s office has received hundreds of threatening calls and messages from people around the country. This law clerk has received dozens of threats after Trump posted that. That’s what this higher court said one of the reasons was they were re-imposing this gag order. They thought Trump was going too far in attacking the judge’s family and his staff. Then right after this, Trump posted some things on Truth Social that allegedly – and I want to emphasize allegedly here to protect everyone – that the judge’s wife in this case had posted some derogatory comments about Donald Trump. Well, now it’s coming out that those were not real posts from the judge’s wife. Apparently these were AI or fake social media posts that Trump bought into saying that it was her and now the judge and the wife are saying that was all fake, that she had nothing to do with any of that. So I don’t know if the court may now take that up because it seems like Trump may have already violated the gag order by immediately posting something right after the gag was re-imposed yesterday. It’s a really messy situation.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I don’t know that we should be bowing to when threats are made. Threats are made all the time sadly, very sadly some of those may be AI generated as well. It is tough these days. They do put these fake accounts out. They do use fake phones to post some of this stuff. We’re in a real world hurt when it comes to understanding what’s real, what’s fake, but I don’t like the idea of bowing to mob rule. Oh, we’re getting these protests. Oh, we’re getting these threats. We must censor. That’s very dangerous for free speech rights.”
Barkdoll said, “It’s a very slippery slope. That’s why this likely goes on appeal because Trump absolutely has free speech rights. He’s a presidential candidate. He’s certainly allowed to say things to the public. This specific comments and things he has said about the judge and his staff are very borderline and it’s a slippery slope both ways. I mean, imagine in any trial, what if the defendant just starts posting all sorts of personal information about the judge and the judges staff and their clerks? That’s also a bad situation. I think that’s what these courts are struggling here to balance because Trump has the First Amendment rights, but the judge and clerks and staff also have rights to be protected. So I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this. It’ll likely be a few more weeks until the next level of appellate court in New York weighs in on this and just remains to be seen where it lands.”
Ryan wondered, “Why did they wait so long on this? This is moment to moment, this thing should be rushed to the front instead of waiting weeks. Why are they waiting so long? It’s impacting him immediately. There should be some sort of rush to get this thing figured out right away, up or down yes or no. Why are they waiting?”
Barkdoll agreed, “It should be expedited. But in the world of the court and the judicial system, even a few weeks is expedited. The other layer to this remember during this trial, Trump routinely comes out during breaks and he’ll do kind of a mini press conference, outside making comments about witnesses and the judge and the judge’s staff. Presumably that will now be paused while this is on appeal. Trump has already been fined twice by this judge. Remember, the judge called Trump to the stand a few weeks ago and Trump said well those posts weren’t about your clerk. I was just referring to the courtroom in general or something like that. The judge said I don’t believe you. That’s not credible and they issued I believe it was a $15,000 fine. So this is really odd and I would say an unprecedented situation. I’m not aware of any other trial in the country where something like this has happened.”