FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump departs from Trump Tower in New York City, U.S., April 13, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
By Jack Queen
(Reuters) – Donald Trump wasted little time attacking a New York judge’s top clerk on Thursday after an appeals court paused a gag order barring the former U.S president from speaking publicly about court staff amid his civil fraud trial.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, took to his Truth Social platform several hours after the gag order by Justice Arthur Engoron was paused to call his “Trump hating” top clerk “politically biased and out of control.”
Engoron had imposed the order in October after Trump shared a photo of his top clerk on social media. He has fined Trump a total of $15,000 for twice violating it and warned of more serious consequences for future breaches, including imprisonment.
Trump, his two adult sons and 10 of his companies are accused in the lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James of inflating his net worth by as much as $2.2 billion to secure better deals from lenders and insurers.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and accused James, an elected Democrat, and Engoron of political bias and “election interference.”
Engoron has already ruled that Trump engaged in fraud, and the trial largely concerns damages.
James is seeking at least $250 million in fines and a New York commercial real estate ban against Trump and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump.
The trial, which is expected to continue into mid-December, is part of a maelstrom of legal troubles Trump faces as he campaigns to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.
Those include four criminal cases, two of which concern his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden.
Trump nonetheless holds a commanding lead over his Republican rivals, opinion polls show.