December 3, 2023

Donald Trump’s lawyer has spoken out about the legal fight over restrictions on the former president’s comments as the New York fraud trial continues.

Alina Habba appeared on Newsmax and said that Letitia James criticized her client while he has been forced to remain silent. Speaking with host Kimberly Guilfoyle, Habba aired her views on Letitia James, the Democrat attorney general of New York who brought the case using state law.

James says that Trump and his family business lied to lenders and insurers about the value of their properties to secure more favorable terms. The former president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said that the case is part of a political witch hunt. Newsweek has contacted Donald Trump’s team for comment via email.

“You know we are in a banana republic,” Habba said. “We are in a situation right now where Letitia James is allowed to freely go out and rip whoever she wants to talk about before she even becomes the AG, before she has any knowledge of anything in the [Trump] Organization to call them criminals, to call them frauds.

“But then, when she comes in, she can go out and talk to you about your fiancĂ© and the Trump family and the president, a leading political candidate, say whatever she wants, and there is no gag order on her,” Habba added.

Alina Habba
Lawyer Alina Habba is seated at the fraud trial against former President Donald Trump in New York, on November 1, 2023. She has said the gag order is one-sided and added that “we are in a banana republic.”

She also said the gag orders were “one way” and likened the order to communist countries “when you want to silence your opponents.”

Habba said: “I’m a spokeswoman. I’m a lawyer. I am an advocate, and we will handle this like we handle everything else that would be appropriate; with vigor and we’ll take appropriate measures that are in place that we hope will still be in place.”

Habba’s comments come after Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing, extended a gag order in Trump’s $250 million fraud trial that stops his lawyers from talking about confidential communications between the judge and his staff. The order was originally put in place by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Engoron said that his chambers had received threats since the trial started and added that he would not allow the attacks on his staff to continue.

“The threat of, and actual, violence resulting from heated political rhetoric is well documented,” Engoron said, according to the U.K. newspaper The Guardian. “Since the commencement of this bench trial, my chambers have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages. 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.”

Under the gag order, Trump and anyone else involved in the case are barred from making public statements targeting prosecutors, court staff or any reasonable witness to the legal proceedings. Earlier in the case, Trump had made comments on his Truth Social account regarding his former chief of staff and attorney, among others.

The gag order does not prohibit Trump or his team from airing general complaints about the case against him.