Judge reinstates Donald Trump trial gag order after former president slams court staff

Donald Trump in court  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump in court (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A US judge has reinstated a gag order that bans Donald Trump and his team from criticising court personnel in his ongoing civil fraud trial in New York.

Trial judge Arthur Engoron claims his chambers have been "inundated" with threats and issued the order in October.

But it was put on hold two weeks ago by an appellate judge, who said he had concerns over free speech rights.

Mr Trump's attorney said it marks "a tragic day for the rule of law".

Christopher Kise added: "In a country where the First Amendment is sacrosanct, President Trump may not even comment on why he thinks he cannot get a fair trial.

"Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America."

Judge Engoron imposed the gag order after the former president, who is campaigning for a second stint in the White House, posted disparaging remarks about the judge's principal law clerk, with her name, photo and a link to her social media, as he sat in court on the trial's second day.

Following the order Trump's lawyers sued the judge and called for a mistrial over "astonishing departures from ordinary standards of impartiality".

An appeals court judge in New York temporarily lifted the gag order over "the constitutional and statutory rights at issue".

But a four-person appeals court panel upheld Judge Engoron's gag order on Thursday.

"I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously, and I want to make sure counsel informs their client," Judge Engoron said in court.

He has already fined Mr Trump $15,000 (£12,000) over violations and extended the order to include his attorneys.