NEW YORK: Former President Donald Trump pleaded with a New York appeals court to continue to pause the gag order against him in his $250 million civil fraud trial.
Trump said that the threats to the judge and his law clerk did not “justify” limiting his constitutional right to defend himself.
Lawyers for the New York attorney general’s office and the court last week urged the appeals court to reinforce the gag order on Trump following “serious and credible” threats that have inundated Judge Arthur Engoron’s chambers since the trial began in October, media reports said.
Trump’s attorneys filed a plea on Monday before the appeals court — consisting of two judges appointed by Barack Obama and one by Joe Biden — that the former president never threatened the judge or his principal law clerk and he can’t be held responsible for others actions.
They invoked the first amendment of right to free speech arguing Trump had the right to criticize and call out his perception of bias by the judge and his law clerk without retribution. It is “essential” to maintain public confidence in the trial, they argued.
“At base, the disturbing behaviour engaged in by anonymous, third-party actors towards the judge and Principal Law Clerk publicly presiding over an extremely polarizing and high-profile trial merits appropriate security measures,” Trump’s attorneys wrote as reported by CNN.
“However, it does not justify the wholesale abrogation of Petitioners’ First Amendment rights in a proceeding of immense stakes to Petitioners, which has been compromised by the introduction of partisan bias on the bench, “ the report quoted Trump’s legal team as saying. (IANS)