Advertisement

NY Judge Engoron Under Fire For Comments Made During Trump Fraud Trial

Advertisement

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


Michael Conway, a legal expert and former House Judiciary Committee counsel, is warning New York Judge Arthur Engoron about his language and behavior as he presides over former President Donald Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial.

In a column for MSNBC, Conway cited the trial of the so-called “Chicago 7,” reminding “Engoron that the defendants in the notorious case went out of their way to antagonize Judge Julius Hoffman, which seems to be Donald Trump’s strategy in a case where Engoron has already found evidence of fraud,” Raw Story noted.

Conway continued by pointing out that during his testimony, Engoron frequently clashed with both Trump’s legal team and the former president himself, adding that the profanity will undoubtedly be brought up in an appeal.

“In New York, Engoron has used strident language in rejecting Trump’s legal positions, terming them ‘pure sophistry,’ ‘risible,’ ‘bogus arguments,’ and ‘egregious’ in his summary judgment opinion. He sanctioned five Trump attorneys for $7,500 each for the ‘borderline frivolous’ arguments in their briefs,” Conway wrote.

“Harsh language isn’t a problem if it’s justified. But the more Engoron pushes the envelope, the more he risks an appellate court disagreeing with his assessment. And Trump’s lawyers can and will argue the judge’s rhetoric is evidence of judicial bias,” Conway added.

Conway added that “there are other examples of Engoron seemingly overreacting in response to relentless complaining from Trump’s lawyers” before noting: “He needs to take all necessary steps to ensure that a New York appellate court cannot overturn his decision. And that means not reacting to Trump’s hate-filled speech or his lawyers’ baiting and provocation. It’s simply not worth it.”

Advertisement

When denying a mistrial request from Trump’s team during the trial, Engoron used similar language and referred to the judge’s combative demeanor in court.

Trump’s lawyers claimed the judge and his chief law clerk displayed an “appearance of bias” against the former president, and Engoron turned down their request.

State prosecutors “advocated for” the motion, but Engoron denied it, stating that it was “utterly without merit” and that it would be “futile” to move forward with a full briefing schedule.

The former president had questioned Allison Greenfield, his chief law clerk, about her past donations to Democratic candidates. Engoron defended both her and his actions.

The Epoch Times reported:

The motion seeking a mistrial pointed to a high school newsletter, at which Judge Engoron, in his capacity as a Wheatley School alumnus, works as an editor. The newsletter has publicly posted links in the “newsletter he maintains to articles disparaging parties and counsel.”

Advertisement

The judge denied that this was evidence of bias, stating that his duties with the newsletter don’t affect “my presiding fairly, impartially, and professionally” over the current case.

The newsletter, which began publishing after Judge Engoron established the Wheatley School Alumni Association in 2007, made headlines earlier this month when several prominent conservative social media users posted photos to the newsletter that appear to show the judge shirtless while working out.

“When an online publication mentions a graduate, including myself, I include an excerpt and/or a link, usually both,” Engoron noted in his ruling. “Consequently, I have been the subject of entries concerning this case due to its undeniable newsworthiness.”

“However, I neither wrote nor contributed to any of the articles on which defendants focus, and no reasonable reader could think otherwise,” he added.

Advertisement

As for Greenfield, the defense attorneys’ motion referenced her “partisan political contributions” to candidates and organizations that oppose Trump, which they claimed were “more than strict limits” of $500 per year.

He also dismissed any suggestion that her presence at political events “sponsored by certain organizations” implied that all positions and actions taken by those organizations “should be imputed to her and, by proxy, to me.”

Trump’s attorneys also noted Greenfield’s “unprecedented role” in the trial, arguing that Engoron often “pauses to consult with her on the bench” before he “rules on most issues.”

He also “receives from her contemporaneous written notes.” That led them to argue she appears to be “co-judging” the trial.

Advertisement
Test your skills with this Quiz!