- The Washington Times - Friday, November 17, 2023

On the heels of an ethics complaint by Rep. Elise Stefanik against the judge over the New York civil court case against Donald Trump, alleging a “clear judicial bias” and calling for his removal, an appeals court has lifted the gag order against Trump.

And now a mistrial is in the . That’s good. But it still doesn’t the astonishing bias of Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron and his Democrat-funding clerk Allison Greenfield.

And this kangaroo court isn’t just a travesty of justice for Trump. It’s a danger to all Americans.

Engoron has off the deep end with his of gag orders and sanctions over violations of gag orders against Trump. First Amendment? Freedom of speech?  Engoron is one step from stuffing Trump in a cage and putting him in a corner of the courtroom, a la Russia style. This is civil court, not criminal; there’s not a jury pool to taint. So why the need to stifle Trump’s speech outside the courtroom, except only to punish his politics and do the bidding of the Democrat Party?

Trump is running a campaign for president against the sitting POTUS, Joe Biden, for the opposite party of the one in power — against the Democrats and the Democrat-supporters who have brought this case against Trump in the first place. Clearly, the people of the United States want to hear what he has to say about his legal battles, as part and parcel of making a decision about 2024.

If this judge is acting out of bias, the people need to know.

“Last year, Judge Engoron told President Trump’s attorney that the former president is ‘just a bad guy’ who Democrat New York Attorney General Letitia James ‘should go after as the chief law enforcement officer of the state,’” Stefanik in her judicial complaint against Engoron, filed November 10.

Then during the trial, Engoron “illegally gagged” Trump and his attorneys, and “told the defendant: ‘We are not here to listen to what you have to say.’ He told the defendant’s counsel: ‘I am not here to hear what he has to say, now sit down!’” Stefanik .

Then came this: Engoron in 2018 money to the Manhattan Democrats. His clerk, Greenfield, donated thousands of dollars to Democrat candidates and campaigns and causes. Yet state code prohibits  judges from donating to political organizations and members of judges’ staff from donating to political causes in amounts higher than $500 per calendar year. When Trump attorneys pointed out the donation violations, and complained about Greenfield’s “inappropriate behavior,” to include eye-rolling during witness testimony and frequent note-passing, Engoron issued a gag order against Trump attorneys. When Trump criticized Greenfield outside the courtroom, Engoron issued a gag order against Trump. When Trump violated the gag order, more than once, Engoron slapped him with sanctions and fines of thousands of dollars.

Hop-a-long Engoron.

He’s a kangaroo presiding over this very un-American court.

Now Justice David Friedman, with a New York appeals court, has just Trump’s team a lift of the gag order until November 27, when a full panel of appeals court judges will hear the issue. In his ruling, Friedman Trump is entitled to speak publicly about “perceived partisanship and bias” taking place in court and that “considering the constitutional and statutory rights at issue” — such as, oh, let’s see, the First Amendment and the right of Americans to speak freely and express themselves, particularly involving political matters — that the gag orders must go. For now.

Until November 27.

Until the full panel of judges meet to issue a more permanent decision on Trump’s right to speak.

This is the unsettling and uncomfortable part.

God-given rights and liberties actually dictate Americans have the authority to speak freely. The Constitution only underscores those God-given liberties. Judges like Engoron are tools of the left and mouthpieces for the Democrats and have little regard for either God-given or constitutional rights. That seems clear and he’s been back a bit by Friedman. But putting free speech into the hands of a panel of judges to decide — no matter how they rule — is a shaky foundation for America.

It means that judges are the final arbiters of God-given liberties.

In America, that’s just not the case. It shouldn’t be the case.

So the takeaway here is this: Stripping Trump and his attorneys of their rights to free speech is an act that impacts all of Americans because it leads us down a path of relying on judges to pick and choose who gets to speak; who must shut up; who must stifle and tone down and adjust and accommodate. No matter how the full panel rules later this month, the American response must be this: Who are you to rule at all.

Free speech is a gift from God, not government.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter and podcast by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Lockdown: The Socialist Plan To Take Away Your Freedom,” is available by ǰǰ

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