On Nov 3, 2023, Judge Engoron issued a gag order to Trump's lawyers barring them (as well as Trump) from speaking about the judge's staff. This is precipitated by Chris Kise's argument that the law clerk Allison Greenfield is "co-judging" the case and as Trump's lawyer he has "to make a record if he sees potential bias."
However, in Judge Engoron's order he made the argument that their frequent communication is "of particular trust and confidence", likening it to "the kind of professional interchange that might be found between long-time colleagues in a law firm."
My question has to do with how the US court system draws the line between legitimate vs. improper contribution that a law clerk can provide to the judge, and whether any of those communication should be recorded as part of the case for later review, potentially by a higher court. One possible factor is that this case is a bench trial where the judge is also the jury. Since the defendants cannot benefit from protection afforded them by the many rules regarding selective evidence presented to the jury and of the jury selection itself (which protects them from bias) maybe there are rules that can protect the defendants in lieu of this?