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Judge issues gag order in Trump fraud trial after ex-president posts about law clerk

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Former President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media while arriving for the second day of his civil fraud trial in New York on Oct. 3, 2023.
Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he plans to testify at the New York trial accusing him of engaging in a yearslong pattern of massive business fraud.

Trump told reporters during a break on the second day of the trial that he will take the witness stand “at the appropriate time.”

He is named as a potential witness on lists submitted by his own attorneys, and by lawyers for New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose $250 million lawsuit is the subject of the trial.

Trump has frequently attacked James, as well as Judge Arthur Engoron, who is conducting the trial without a jury.

On Tuesday, Trump targeted Engoron’s principal law clerk by sharing a social media post that included her full name and a photo of her posing with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as they both smiled.

Trump in his repost called the clerk “Schumer’s girlfriend” and accused her of “running this case against me.”

“How disgraceful!” Trump wrote in his Truth Social post. “This case should be dismissed immediately!!”

Trump mentioned Schumer and the clerk again during another break later Tuesday, as he claimed that the trial was “rigged” and “fraudulent.”

The clerk is seated almost directly across from Trump in court, according to journalists in the room.

The government’s first witness, Donald Bender, former U.S. President Donald Trump’s former accountant at Mazars USA, attends the trial of Trump, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, in New York City, U.S., October 3, 2023.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Before the trial resumed Tuesday morning, Trump blasted James as a “fraud.”

“This case should be dismissed,” Trump told reporters outside of the courtroom.

“And she should probably be dismissed also,” he said of James.

The attorney general accuses Trump, two of his adult sons, the Trump Organization, and top executives of fraudulently valuing real estate properties to obtain more favorable loan and insurance terms, and tax benefits.

Trump on Tuesday said, “Her numbers are fraudulent.”

He had glared at James on Monday when walking out of the courtroom.

The second day of trial resumed with testimony from Donald Bender, a former accountant for Trump and his business.

In addition to seeking $250 million in damages, James is seeking a ban on Trump and his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, from running a business in New York.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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