Judges In Two Trump Cases Take Extraordinary Protective Measures

Arthur Engoron

Justice Arthur Engoron

Two judges in two separate Donald Trump trials in one day were forced to take extraordinary protective measures based on the actions of the defendant or his attorneys, and his followers.

While the protective measures are rare they are not unprecedented, but they underscore the threats the justice system is facing from the ex-president’s followers.

Friday afternoon in the $250 million civil fraud case against the ex-president, his two adult sons, and his company, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron expanded the gag order he had imposed on Donald Trump to include Trump’s attorneys, and threatened “serious sanctions” should they violate it. On Thursday two of Trump’s attorneys targeted the judge’s principal law clerk, actions that Trump had taken in earlier weeks, which initiated the imposition of the limited gag order.

Engoron “wrote that since the trial started, his chambers ‘have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters and packages,” Axios reported.

“The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is far and away outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm,” Engoron added. On Thursday the judge was so outraged by the targeting of his law clerk he reportedly pounded the bench and warned the attorneys.

“The order restricts attorneys in the case from making public statements that refer to any confidential communications between Engoron and his staff,” Axios adds. Engoron accused Trump’s lawyers including Chris Kise, Alina Habba, and Clifford Robert, of having “made, on the record, repeated, inappropriate remarks about my Principal Law Clerk.”

As MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin noted, also on Friday, in a separate civil case, the remaining one brought by journalist E. Jean Carroll, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan – citing the gag order imposed by Judge Engoron – ordered the jurors in the upcoming Carroll case must remain anonymous.

Judge Kaplan wrote that if jurors’ identities “were disclosed, there would be a strong likelihood of unwanted media attention to the jurors, influence attempts, and/or harassment or worse by supporters of Mr. Trump [and/or by Mr. Trump himself] Indeed, in the very recent past, Mr. Trump has been fined twice for violating a gag order issued by a New York judge in response to comments made by Mr. Trump in relation to the judge’s clerk. In view of Mr. Trump’s repeated public statements with respect to the plaintiff [E. Jean Carroll] and court in this case as well as in other cases against him, and the extensive media coverage that this case already has received and that is likely to increase once the trial is imminent or underway, the Court finds that there is strong reason to believe the jury requires … protections.”

The order bans the “names, addresses, and places of employment of prospective jurors … as well as jurors who ultimately are selected … shall not be revealed.”

He also ordered the U.S. Marshal Service to transport the jurors to and from. undisclosed locations before and after each trial day “at which the jurors can assemble or from which they may return to their respective residences.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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