A New York appeals court reinstated a gag order preventing former President Donald Trump from maligning court staffers on Thursday.
New York Judge Arthur Engoron had initially issued the gag order in early October after Trump lashed out at one of his law clerks on social media. Trump is currently fighting accusations of business fraud leveled by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Appeals court Judge David Friedman had issued a stay on Engoron’s gag order on Nov. 16, saying it potentially infringed on Trump’s First Amendment rights.
By that time, Engoron had already fined Trump $5,000 for violating the order on social media on Oct. 20, and did so again on Oct. 25 for another $10,000 before threatening imprisonment if further violations were committed.
Trump took the stand to testify personally in early November. He repeatedly cast James’ years-long investigation and lawsuit as a “disgrace” and an attack on his business and his family.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and insists his assets were actually undervalued. Trump has repeatedly said his financial statements had disclaimers requesting that the numbers be evaluated by the banks.
Engoron ruled in September that both Trump and his company had committed fraud by deceiving banks, insurers and others by overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.
“There was no victim here – the banks were represented by the best, biggest, most prestigious law firms in the state of New York – actually in the country, some of the biggest law firms,” Trump said when the trial began. “The banks got back their money, there was never a default, it was never a problem, everything was perfect. There was no crime.”
Trump has attacked Engoron and James–both Democrats–as politically biased “operatives.”
“They are defending the Worst and Least Respected Attorney General in the United States, Letitia James, who is a Worldwide disgrace, as is her illegal Witch Hunt against me. The Radical and Unprecedented actions of Judge Engoron will keep BUSINESSES and JOBS forever out of New York State,” Trump wrote in a recent social media post.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report