This backlash was fully anticipated after yesterday’s bombshell that the gag order imposed in the New York Trump Organization fraud trial had been lifted. Trump and his lawyers began crowing about their victory and doubled down on both Judge Arthur Engoron and his court clerk, whom they accuse of nefarious conduct for communicating via written note to the judge while he’s on the bench.

The matter will be decided by a panel of judges on November 27. The big issue here is public safety and particularly the safety of the officers and staff of the courts with which Donald Trump is involved, from MAGA extremists. MAGAs listen without analysis or reason to Trump’s tirades about the “enemy of the state” and “biased judges.” January 6 showed us conclusively that MAGAs will act on their cult leader’s order without hesitation. And as one of the election clerks in Georgia worried, back when the votes were being recounted for the third time, “somebody’s going to get killed.” This appellate judge may have unwittingly set the stage for something like that and that’s the argument of Barbara McQuade, here, that the judge is naive.

I actually think that the issue here is clear. If Trump wants to revile his political opponents, fine. Go ahead. He is running for president. But that’s not the issue. The issue is him using that same level of vitriol and contempt and directing it against judges, prosecutors and court staff. That’s something entirely different.

In a perfect world, a narrowly tailored, iron clad gag order will come out. And it will be carved in stone. Simply, Trump should not have the right to even mention the names Jack Smith, Tanya Chutkan, Fani Willis, anybody in that general class of people unless he has a neutral, factual comment to make. And what are the odds of that? But beyond a simple statement, any opinion, criticism, derogatory descriptor, all of that, should be absolutely and unambiguously barred.

And failing Trump’s compliance with said iron clad order, he should be remanded to the custody of the authorities — as anybody else behaving the way he has would have already been.

This is admittedly my wish list for the November 27 hearing. Let’s see what actually happens.

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. And they had better figure out how they are going to enforce it. Because a ruling without the power of enforcement behind is less than nothing, since it makes the scofflaw come off as being above the law, and comes off as empty bluster. I don’t know why they don’t just tell the bastard what the punishment will be if he violates the order, but they have to be prepared to put it into effect.

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  2. Two things. I must respectfully disagree about the matter being hears by the full appellate court “quickly.” Nov. 27 is a long time when we are talking about people getting death threats. The second thing is the judge that issued the stay. I’m suuuuuuuure it a complete coincidence but he’s a Republican, appointed decades ago when Republican George Pataki was Gov. and conservatives held more sway in NY state than the currently do. Yes, Pataki was considered a moderate due to stances on things like abortion and LGBT issues but he would also become a fan of things like charter schools and teamed up with Rudy G. to push them and therefore harm public education. Frankly, he was trying to curry favor with the right but it wasn’t enough and he declined to run for a fourth term.

    I read an article on the judge’s ruling and was stunned by his reasoning. Or lack thereof. He might as well have written, “Well, Trump and his lawyers haven’t gone out to reporters or posted videos on social media saying “Hunt these people down and kill them. Oh, if you need a hammer like that guy convicted of attacking Paul Pelosi, or want to use a gun and can’t afford one provide your address and it will get overnighted to you” then poor little Trump’s free speech rights haven’t been violated. That CROOKED (if he wasn’t before he is now) judge knows goddamn good and well that ANY other defendant (or their lawyers) would get hit with a gag order and there would be hell (as in time in jail) for violating it using the type of rhetoric that’s been used.

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    • And where are you getting Friedman’s being a Republican? According to the website CourtAlert, he’s listed as a Democrat. (https://www.courtalert.com/JudgeFriedman.asp)
      There’s nothing about his political affiliation on his scanty Wiki page. But, just because he was appointed by a Republican does NOT necessarily translate into his being a Republican.
      I’m not arguing his decision was beyond absurd but we have seen plenty of GOP-appointed judges (including 3 current members of SCOTUS) who’ve ruled against Trump time and time again because they actually do want to uphold the law.

  3. “If Trump wants to revile his political opponents, fine. Go ahead. He is running for president. But that’s not the issue. The issue is him using that same level of vitriol and contempt and directing it against judges, prosecutors and court staff.”

    Trump isn’t just running for president, his running for autocrat against the system so of course in his mind he should be able to revile the system.

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