A New York judge placed a limited gag order on Donald J. Trump on Tuesday after the former president posted a message to social media targeting the judge’s law clerk.
Mr. Trump attacked the clerk, Allison Greenfield, shortly before noon on his Truth Social site. His post was a picture of Ms. Greenfield with Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader. Mr. Trump mocked Ms. Greenfield as “Schumer’s girlfriend” and said that the case against him should be dismissed.
The post was taken down during a lunch break, shortly after a closed-door meeting in the room where Mr. Trump is being tried.
Justice Arthur F. Engoron explained what had happened after the break, though he did not name Ms. Greenfield or Mr. Trump, referring to him only as a defendant. “Personal attacks on my members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them under any circumstances,” he said.
Justice Engoron said that his statement should be considered a gag order forbidding any posts, emails or public remarks about members of his staff. He added that serious sanctions would follow were he to be disobeyed, but did not elaborate.
The judge, who is known for keeping a lighthearted atmosphere in his courtroom, spoke gravely. He noted that while Mr. Trump had taken down the Truth Social post, the former president’s campaign had sent out a copy of the post in a disparaging email to millions of people.
Mr. Trump has spent much of the first two days of the trial attacking Justice Engoron, Ms. Greenfield and Letitia James, the New York attorney general. Ms. James filed the lawsuit that led to the trial that began Monday. She accused Mr. Trump of “staggering fraud” in the way he inflated the values of his assets, as a way to gain favorable treatment from banks and insurance companies. Ms. James and Justice Engoron are both Democrats.
The former president’s social media posts have become an issue in several cases against him. Federal prosecutors who have accused Mr. Trump of seeking to overturn the 2020 election have asked a judge for a gag order, citing his threatening statements. In a criminal case against Mr. Trump in Manhattan, which stems from a 2016 hush money payment to a porn star, the judge has restricted the former president’s ability to post about some evidence.
In a pretrial ruling, Justice Engoron found that the former president was liable for fraud and dissolved the companies he uses to run his New York properties.
What remains to be determined at trial is whether the former president and his fellow defendants are liable for other crimes and whether there will be any further punishment. Ms. James has asked Justice Engoron to fine the defendants $250 million.
Ben Protess contributed reporting.