Trump attacks wife of New York judge after gag order reinstated by court

<span>Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Donald Trump renewed attacks on the wife of the judge in the New York civil fraud trial of his business empire, before and almost immediately after an appellate court on Thursday reinstated a gag order against him in the case.

The New York appellate court decided to reapply the gag order that barred the former US president and his lawyers from making public statements about court staff in his civil fraud trial, court records showed.

Related: Office of judge presiding over Trump’s New York trial bombarded with threats

Trump on Wednesday attacked Dawn Engoron, the wife of the judge, Arthur Engoron, and the judge’s clerk, on his social media platform Truth Social.

He called Dawn Engoron a “Trump hating wife” and said that she and Arthur Engoron’s law clerk had “taken over control of the New York State Witch Hunt Trial aimed at me, my family, and the Republican Party”.

On Thursday, the gag order against him, which had been paused two weeks ago, was reinstated, but it did not stop Trump lashing out further. The order only specifies comments about members of Judge Engoron’s staff, not his family.

Trump posted screenshots of vulgar and profane anti-Trump messages on X, formerly known as Twitter, purported to have been made by Dawn Engoron – prompting her swiftly to assert that she does not have an account.

“I do not have a Twitter account. This is not me. I have not posted any anti-Trump messages,” Dawn Engoron told Newsweek.

One meme shows Trump digitally altered into wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and mopping floors. The caption read: “He’ll never be in the WHITE HOUSE again. He’s headed for the BIG HOUSE.”

Trump then added captions to his posts, such as one that read: “This is the Judge’s Wife and Family that are putting these things out. I am not entitled to a Jury under this Statute. Can this be happening in America?”

The court last month had sought to prohibit him from commenting about court staff at his trial in New York, then paused the gag order.

Barely an hour after that, Trump, who is running for president again, unleashed a barrage of social media outrage at a clerk who has become the lightning rod for his rage in the case.

Engoron had imposed the gag order on Trump and his lawyers in October after they repeatedly went after his court staff including his principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, on social media, although Engoron said they were free to criticize him.

The $250m case against Trump and his two adults sons over illegally inflating the value of assets of the family business empire, the Trump Organization, in a case brought by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, remains under way and is expected to wrap up next month. The court has found them liable but the trial, taking place without a jury, is to establish more details about the offenses committed and what the consequences should be.

Trump is accused of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to dupe lenders and insurers. He has denied wrongdoing and said James is politically biased against him.

Trump in October accused Engoron’s top clerk of political bias in a post on his Truth Social platform. The post left the court “inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages” from Trump supporters, Engoron said in a court filing, leading to a limited gag order.

The order was paused while Trump’s lawyers appealed, arguing it infringed on his right to free speech under the US constitution.

A representative of the attorney general’s office declined to comment on the order being reinstated, and Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Engoron has already fined Trump $15,000 for twice violating the order and warned that future breaches would be met with steeper penalties, including imprisonment.

  • Reuters contributed reporting