In a bold defense of his Constitutional rights, Donald Trump rallied against attempts to reinstate a gag order in his civil fraud trial, emphasizing that third-party threats against the judge and his law clerk shouldn’t impede his right to defend himself.
In a filing submitted on Monday, Trump’s attorneys asserted that the First Amendment provides him with the essential right to criticize and highlight perceived bias without facing retribution. They underscored that allowing Trump to voice his concerns is crucial for maintaining public confidence in a trial tainted by partisan bias on the bench.
While acknowledging the need for appropriate security measures in response to threats faced by Judge Arthur Engoron and his law clerk, Trump’s legal team vehemently rejected the idea of sacrificing their client’s First Amendment rights. They argued that holding Trump responsible for the actions of others would amount to an unjust abrogation of his rights, especially in a trial of immense stakes compromised by partisan bias.
This filing comes in the wake of hundreds of harassing messages targeting Engoron and his law clerk, making public the disturbing and polarizing nature of the trial. Trump’s legal battle involves pushing back against a gag order that prevented him and his attorneys from making public statements about the judge’s staff, specifically focusing on the law clerk’s alleged bias against Trump.
Highlighting concerns about the law clerk’s impartiality due to political donations, Trump and his lawyers argued that she is “co-judging” the case based on frequent consultations with the judge. The lifting of the gag order earlier this month by a New York appeals court judge sparked an increase in messages, leading to calls for its reinstatement by the attorney general’s office and the court.
Trump’s attorneys, however, vehemently contended that neither Trump nor his counsel could be held accountable for the disparaging messages, emphasizing that their client had never made statements targeting the law clerk’s religion, appearance, or private activities. In their staunch defense of Trump’s First Amendment rights, they positioned the legal battle as a crucial confrontation against attempts to stifle a dissident political leader’s voice in the face of a biased and high-profile trial.
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