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Trump Attorney Alina Habba Demands Judge Engoron Recuse Himself From Case Immediately

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Alina Habba, one of the attorneys for former President Donald Trump, has issued an ultimatum to the judge who ruled in the fraud case in New York brought by Attorney General Letitia James.

She has called on Judge Engoron to recuse himself from the case immediately, telling Fox News that they can no longer wait for the Office of Attorney Ethics to take action.

The former president’s attorneys have said that he needs to be off the case because of an alleged “appearance of impropriety” after he received advice on the case from New York real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey as the trial was going on.

“I just want to be really clear for the listeners on what happened here. This attorney Mr Bailey went on TV bragging about the fact he had spoken with the judge that was sitting on our case, Judge Engoron. The judge had not issued his final decision on this case and this attorney who has sued Trump more than six times has now gone up to a judge sitting on an active case and spoken to him about the case. That is not allowed,” she said to Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“He never notified the parties, not allowed. This goes way beyond anything else we already know and it gave us another reason to say yet again ‘you need to step down, you need to take robe, you’re code of judicial conduct, seriously,” the attorney said.

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She said that it is being investigated by the Office of Attorney Ethics but they “cannot wait here any longer for these judges to sit here and make the right decision.”

She said of the verdict that “if this was influenced, if we do find out about it, absolutely there are grounds to vacate the decision for a reversal.”

In June it was reported that Judge Engoron, who levied a historic fine against former President Donald Trump in the civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, is being investigated.

Allegations have surfaced that the judge had a private meeting with real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey mere weeks before he levied the $454 million fine against the former president.

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct is now investigating whether or not the judge improperly considered Bailey’s advice before issuing the fine, a local NBC affiliate reported.

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“Bailey claimed in a television interview that he approached Engoron to share his perspective on a key legal issue related to the trial. He insisted that his intent was to help the judge understand the greater implications of the harsh ruling against Trump, particularly for New York’s economy. However, such conversations are prohibited under New York’s judicial conduct rules unless all parties are notified and given a chance to respond,” the report said.

“I actually had the ability to speak to him three weeks ago,”, the attorney said in a television interview with NBC New York . “I saw him in the corner [at the courthouse] and I told my client, ‘I need to go.’ And I walked over and we started talking … I wanted him to know what I think and why … I really want him to get it right.”

The attorney said that he “explained to him” that the fraud statute being used in the case wasn’t meant to be used to destroy a massive company, particularly when there are no victims in the case.

He said he was concerned about how the law was being applied in the case and said that the judgment could negatively affect the economy of New York

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“He had a lot of questions, you know, about certain cases. We went over it,” he said.

The judge, who rejected a similar argument raised by the attorneys for former President Trump in court, said that his conversation with the attorney did not influence his decision.

“No ex parte conversation concerning this matter occurred between Justice Engoron and Mr. Bailey or any other person. The decision Justice Engoron issued on February 16 was his alone, was deeply considered, and was wholly uninfluenced by this individual,” spokesperson for the New York State Office of Court Administration, Al Baker, said.

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