NEW YORK -- A New York appeals court on Thursday temporarily lifted a limited gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump.
Judge David Friedman of the appellate division's first department ruled from the bench after a brief oral argument.
The judge stayed the gag order citing constitutional concerns over Trump's free speech rights.
The gag order was imposed by the judge presiding over Trump's civil trial, Arthur Engoron, after Trump posted disparaging things on social media about his law clerk.
Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly put the law clerk, Allison Greenfield, under a microscope during the trial. They contend that the former Democratic judicial candidate is a partisan voice in Engoron's ear - though he also is a Democrat - and that she is playing too big a role in the case involving the former Republican president.
Engoron has responded by defending her role in the courtroom, ordering participants in the trial not to comment on court staffers and fining Trump a total of $15,000 for what the judge deemed violations. Engoron went on last week to prohibit attorneys in the case from commenting on "confidential communications" between him and his staff.
Trump's lawyers - who, separately, sought a mistrial Wednesday - contend that Engoron's orders are unconstitutionally suppressing free speech, and not just any free speech.
"This constitutional protection is at its apogee where the speech in question is core political speech, made by the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, regarding perceived partisanship and bias at a trial where he is subject to hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and the threatened prohibition of his lawful business activities in the state," they wrote in a legal filing.
(ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)