Former President Donald Trump is planning to take the fight about the gag order that’s been placed on him in his civil fraud case to they highest level of state court.
On Monday, his attorneys told The New York Post of this plan. Trump had planned to attend his trial later this week, which is being held in Manhattan.
Trump’s lawyers are requesting the ability to speed the case to the New York Court of Appeals, following a ruling from a lower appeals court handed down last week that reinstated the limited gag order on him. They filed the request on Monday morning, which started the 10th week of his civil fraud trial.
The order bars Trump as well as his lawyers from speaking publicly about the staff who works for the judge.
The lawsuit was brought by Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James. It is seeking $250 million in damages and could also threaten Trump’s real estate empire that he has built over years in New York.
Trump’s legal team is expected to close out their side of the case sometime next week. Sources told The Post that Trump himself planned to attend the hearings in person on Thursday so that he could see first-hand how things were progressing.
Eric Trump, his younger adult son, was set to testify this week for the second time in the trial.
The limited gag order has been in place since the trial’s second day back in October. It was put in place by Arthur Engoron, the Manhattan Supreme Court Justice who’s overseeing this non-jury trial.
The judge made the decision following a social media attack that Trump launched against Allison Greenfield, who works as the chief law clerk for Engoron.
In addition to the limited gag order, Engoron levied a total of $15,000 in fines on Trump, after the judge ruled that the former president twice violated that order.
Trump has since appealed, arguing that the limited gag order is in violation of his right to free speech. He was even successful in getting appeals court Judge David Friedman to temporarily lift the ban last month.
However, that temporary lift was overturned just two weeks after by a four-judge panel of the appeals court, which then fully reinstated the order. Trump then requested the ability to petition an appeals court higher up in the state court system to have the limited gag order done away with.
Trump’s legal team has argued that the gag order against him restricts his free speech as well as theirs, and negates all of their rights under the First Amendment “to highlight serious concerns raised by the public and partisan activities” that the principal law clerk for Engoron has displayed during the trial.
The lawyers said that if the issue doesn’t get “expedited,” they “will continue to suffer irreparable injury daily, as they are silenced on matters implicated the appearance of bias and impropriety on the bench during a trial of immense stakes.”