Arguing in favor of reimposing a gag order barring Donald Trump from mentioning the law clerk involved in his $250 million civil fraud trial, court officials on Wednesday detailed what they described as a “deluge” of threats targeting the clerk after the former president complained about her on social media.
In a filing that supported ending a temporary pause on the gag order, an officer with the New York state court system’s Department of Public Safety said the judge presiding over the case, Arthur Engoron, had already been the subject of harassment and threats on social media that were deemed “credible” before the trial started in early October.
Those threats prompted court officials to work with “the FBI and Homeland Security to devise the appropriate security measures that would be implemented in order to protect the judge, his chambers staff, and those closely associated around him, including his family,” Charles Hollon, who works in the Public Safety Department’s Judicial Threats Assessment Unit, said in the filing.
Then, on the second day of the trial, Trump posted a message on Truth Social identifying Engoron’s principal law clerk and falsely claiming she was in a relationship with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. While Trump himself did not threaten her, Hollon said, “the comments made in his post resulted in hundreds of threatening and harassing voicemail messages that have been transcribed into over 275 single spaced pages.”
An attorney for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
Hollon went on to say that the clerk’s “personal information, including her personal cell phone number and personal email addresses also have been compromised resulting in daily doxing. She has been subjected to, on a daily basis, harassing, disparaging comments and antisemitic tropes.” Specifically, the clerk receives 20 to 30 calls a day to her personal cellphone and 30 to 50 messages a day on social media and personal email combined, Hollon said.
Since an appeals court temporarily lifted the gag orders last week, about half of the harassing and disparaging messages to the law clerk have been antisemitic, Hollon wrote. He said he considers the threats against the judge and the clerk “to be serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative.”
The pause on Engoron’s gag order will remain in place until at least Monday, when Trump’s last filing is due and the appeals court is free to decide the matter.
Both the Office of Court Administration, on behalf of Engoron, and the state attorney general’s office, which brought the fraud case against Trump, are asking the appeals court to reimpose the gag order.
Trump is also in a legal battle over a gag order in the federal election interference case against him in Washington, D.C. A panel of judges on a federal appeals court heard arguments this week and indicated in their questioning that they could leave the gag order in place while narrowing its scope. The appeals court has not yet issued a ruling in the matter.