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Legal Analyst Says Trump Lawyers Botched Request for Expedited Gag Order Appeal

Trump’s team failed to both act quickly and correctly to execute the procedure, says MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom with attorneys Christopher Kise (left) and Alina Habba during his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on November 6, 2023, in New York City.

A New York appellate court on Monday denied former President Donald Trump’s request to expedite his appeal of gag orders in the New York fraud trial.

“The application for interim relief seeking expedited grant of leave to the Court of Appeals is denied, as such a motion must be decided by a full panel of this court,” Justice Sallie Manzanet-Daniels wrote in an order.

An appeals court last week reinstated two gag orders in the case barring Trump and his attorney from commenting on Judge Arthur Engoron’s principal law clerk and court staff.

The court’s clerk notified Trump attorneys Christopher Kise and Clifford Robert that New York Attorney General Letitia James must have the opportunity to respond by Monday, Dec. 11, at the earliest, which is the same day Trump is scheduled to be called to testify and the defense case is expected to end, according to The Messenger’s Adam Klasfeld.

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin said the denial came during a “weird” day in court on Monday that reminded her of a scene in the film Clueless in which Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher “fails her driver’s license test miserably, but asks whether there is someone above him with whom she can speak.”

“The examiner’s response is, ‘Girlie, as far as you are concerned, I am the messiah of the DMV.’ I was reminded of that scene watching Team Trump in the clerk’s office today,” she tweeted.

Despite Trump’s testimony being scheduled for December 11, Trump’s lawyers did not appeal the November 30 order until Monday “and even then, they did not get the procedure right, asking a single judge to essentially overrule a four-judge panel,” Rubin explained.

“And when told repeatedly there was nothing they could do to expedite either of their two imagined avenues for relief before 12/11, they were visibly frustrated a la Clueless. Surely, you are not the last word on this, they seemed to suggest to the court attorney,” she wrote.

The court clerk was not the last word as Justice Manzanet-Daniels ultimately signed the order. “But the thrust of what the court attorney told the parties from the counter of the clerk’s office remained true: Without the consent of the AG’s office and given their own delay, there was no getting a hearing earlier than next Monday,” she added. “As Cher might say, ‘Oops. Their bad.’”

Rubin in an appearance on MSNBC explained that Trump appears to be focused on the gag orders because he wants someone to “blame” if he loses the trial.

Trump’s team has repeatedly complained about Engoron’s clerk passing him notes and accused her of being disrespectful and biased and his lawyers “would say they’re entitled to make a record prior to the appeal and basically memorialize what they see as these biases while the trial is going on,” Rubin explained. “I’m not sure why it is that during the course of this trial he needs to be able to say that. It would seem to me they’ve already preserved their objection to that on appeal. They can continue to do that once the appeal starts. But to them, they are characterizing this as a matter of poor political speech.”

Rubin said that the “politics of this says everything.”

“This is a core political speech act, according to them, and he has a right to defend himself against her political bias,” she said. “But really what this is about, is about appealing to their base and being able to blame what they see is the likely outcome of this trial on someone else, and chiefly the judge’s principal law clerk.”

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