Trump really, really hates his NY gag order, which he's now trying to appeal again

donald trump court talking press new york fraud trial
Donald Trump speaks to reporters outside of his civil fraud trial in New York.Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • Trump's first-ever gag order was issued two months ago at his NY fraud trial.

  • Since then, appellate judges have briefly lifted, then reinstated the gag.

  • On Monday, Trump's side just missed a deadline to ask NY's highest court to lift the gag once more.

Over the past two months, Donald Trump's New York gag order — barring him from statements involving the judge's legal staff for his ongoing fraud trial — has been on, off, and on again, where it now remains.

Bright and early Monday, his lawyers began an effort to appeal the gag to the state's highest court, arguing, "The ongoing injuries caused by the unconstitutional Gag Orders to the free-speech rights of President Trump and tens of millions of Americans are incalculable."

But because of a procedural snafu on Trump's side — his lawyers filed paperwork asking for a one-judge appellate decision, rather than for the required four-judge decision — the gag will stay in place for at least the next week.

"A single judge cannot undo what a panel of judges has done," court attorney Lauren Holmes schooled Christopher Kise, the Florida lawyer Trump has on a $3 million retainer. Kise is a former solicitor general for the state of Florida but a newcomer to New York.

The window for getting such a panel closes Mondays at 10 a.m., meaning he'd missed the deadline by five hours, Holmes told Kise and two other attorneys for Trump. The three faced Holmes over a marble countertop at the appellate division clerk's office and were reduced to practically begging for a quicker hearing.

"That's the earliest?" asked Kise.

"Right," the court attorney answered crisply.

Trump's civil-trial gag order is more precisely a partial gag. It lets Trump say almost anything he wants to about the trial. It even lets him attack the judge presiding over the non-jury trial, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.

But it prevents Trump from making public statements about anyone on the law staff of Engoron, who first put the gag in place on October 3, just the second day of trial.

The gag was prompted by Trump's heated, sometimes false attacks, both online and directly to press covering the trial, that focused on Engoron's principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield.

The gag, initially on Trump only, was expanded a month later to his lawyers, who cannot comment on the confidential communications between the judge and his legal staffers.

Trump has been fined $15,000 after twice violating the gag. In the months since Trump singled Greenfield out by name and photo, the judge and staffers, particularly Greenfield, have been flooded with threatening emails and phone calls by Trump supporters, the state court system has reported.

Trump has also fought hard against his other gag order, the one issued in his federal election interference case in Washington, DC,  barring him from attacking potential witnesses.

The lawyers filed Monday's do-over appeal request with a Manhattan appellate court in the morning. The papers ask for the appellate court's "expedited" permission to kick the gag up to the New York Court of Appeals in Albany, where they hope that it will come off for good.

An appeal to Albany could only happen if the lower appellate court in Manhattan gives its OK.

Trump's effort — essentially a 33-page "mother, may I?" — asked the lower appellate court to make its decision by Wednesday.

A speedy decision kicking things up to Albany would prevent "a grave Constitutional deprivation," Trump's filing argued.

"Petitioners respectfully request that this Court grant immediate leave to appeal," Trump lawyer Clifford Robert wrote in Monday's request.

"Expedited review by the Court of Appeals is vital to Petitioners' rights and interests and necessary to redress Justice Engoron's ongoing violations of the United States Constitution, the Judiciary Law, and the Rules of this Court," it said.

"Without expedited review," Trump's lawyers go on to tell the Manhattan appeals court, "Petitioners will continue to suffer irreparable injury daily, as they are silenced on matters implicating the appearance of bias and impropriety on the bench during a trial of immense stakes."

But all of that will now have to wait until at least next Monday, December 11, which, coincidentally, is the day Trump is scheduled to testify for what will be his second time in the fraud trial.

That's the earliest a four-judge panel of the lower appeals court can begin weighing whether to send the gag question up to Albany. At that point, a decision will be expedited, and could be made within a day or two, Holmes told Kise.

Trump's side has claimed in public statements and legal documents that Greenfield is improperly "co-judging" the trial, a claim made without evidence, beyond that the judge and clerk, who sit side by side, occasionally confer quietly on the bench during the trial.

This story was updated to include developments at the Appellate Division, First Department, in Manhattan.

Read the original article on Business Insider