In a significant development in the ongoing New York non-jury civil fraud case against former President Donald Trump, his legal team has filed for a mistrial, citing allegations of bias from the presiding judge and his principal law clerk.
The request comes after constant outbursts from Judge Engoron who already ruled in the case against Trump before the trial even started.
According to reports from ABC News, the motion for a mistrial was submitted by Trump’s attorneys, who argued that the appearance of bias from Judge Arthur Engoron and his principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, has compromised the integrity of the trial. The central allegation hinges on the claim that Judge Engoron, who reportedly manages a Wheatley School alumni page, made posts about the case or individuals involved, including Donald Trump, his son Eric Trump, and Trump’s attorney Alina Habba. The legal team points to a specific New York code that states “a judge shall not make any public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court within the United States or its territories.”
There also have been outbursts made by the judge that are unbecoming of an official.
“I was told to sit down today. I was yelled at and I’ve had a judge who is unhinged slamming a table. Let me be very clear: I don’t tolerate that in my life, I’m not going to tolerate it here.”
— Donald Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba rips Judge Arthur Engoron pic.twitter.com/5gV6cKxeQT
— The Recount (@therecount) November 6, 2023
The case in question stems from an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into Trump’s business practices. James has charged the former president, his companies, and members of his family with falsifying property valuations to obtain favorable loan terms and other illegal advantages. The Attorney General’s office is seeking $250 million in damages and is aiming to impose restrictions on Trump’s ability to conduct business in New York.
Adding to the tensions between Trump’s legal team and Judge Engoron, the judge had previously issued a gag order against Trump, prohibiting him from making public statements about Engoron’s principal law clerk. This order has been reportedly violated by Trump, resulting in fines totaling $15,000.
Judge Engoron, a Democrat, has already ruled that Trump is liable for “persistent fraud,” a decision based on the findings of the New York State Attorney General’s Office (OAG). The OAG alleges that Trump prepared, certified, and submitted false and misleading financial statements to lenders.
“I would ask if we could have until tomorrow to determine if we want to put in anything,” said state attorney Kevin Wallace.