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On Wednesday, Judge Dow ordered Badway to tell clients, who were not in court, that they must appear before her Sept. 14 after giving sworn depositions on what happened to the money at Badway's law office on Monday morning. Dow also voiced concern that McClure and D'Amico will attempt to flee her jurisdiction.

The phrase can be seemingly parsed into two different ways:

  1. [they must appear before her(in front of her)] {(on) Sept. 14}: in this case, the prep 'on' is omitted

  2. [they must appear] {before her Sept. 14}: I'm not sure if the phrase "her Sept. 14" could really make sense. If it does, it sounds like Sept. 14 is a timeline in her schedule list.

So, what would be the correct way to understand it? I feel the first one looks more correct or plausible.

The full source.

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    It's fairly common in US newspaper writing ("journalese") to omit "on" with dates. You don't find this in normal written or spoken language, or even in other countries' newspaper writing. – Daniel Roseman Sep 7 '18 at 13:05
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There's no way that her could modify Sept. 14. However, you might find

... before her [month] 14th [noun]

where both her and the date would modify the noun, such as

... before her June 14th meeting with so-and-so

This sentence is not very clearly written:

On Wednesday, Judge Dow ordered Badway to tell clients, who were not in court, that they must appear before her Sept. 14 after giving sworn depositions on what happened to the money at Badway's law office on Monday morning.

There are a lot of facts to be assembled there. If they have to be put into a single sentence:

On Wednesday, Judge Dow ordered Badway to tell clients, who had given sworn depositions at Badway's law office on Monday morning about what had happened to the money but were not present in court, that they must appear before her on Sept. 14.

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The first interpretation is correct one -- this is made more clear by the fact that "appear before a judge" is a relatively common turn of phrase.

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Collins Dictionary:

When someone appears before a court of law or before an official committee, they go there in order to answer charges or to give information as a witness.

And, I second you that 'on' is omitted.

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