Trump’s attorneys made the request on Thursday, claiming Judge Arthur Engoron and his law clerk had displayed bias and that he conferred with her so much it was as if they were “co-judging” the case. Engoron explicitly denied that claim on Friday, and called the motion “without merit.”
“My rulings are mine, and mine alone. There is absolutely no ‘co-judging’ at play,” Engoron wrote. The judge and his clerk, Allison Greenfield, have been the subject of fierce criticism by Trump and his lawyers, who claim they have overwhelmingly favored New York Attorney General Letitia James’ side in the case.
The trial, which began Oct. 2 and is expected to last into December, stems from a September 2022 lawsuit in which James’ office alleges that Trump, two of his sons and their company engaged in a decade of fraud tied to Trump’s financial statements. James is seeking $250 million for the state and additional penalties that would restrict the defendants’ ability to do business in New York.
Over the past few weeks, the former president and Judge Engeron have been feuding after the judge slapped Trump with $15,000 in fines and implemented a gag order on him. Yesterday, a New York appeals court judge paused Engeron’s gag, allowing the outspoken former president to give the judge a piece of his mind.
“Justice Engoron imposed his own gag order on Mr. Trump on Oct. 3, after the former president posted a picture of Ms. Greenfield with Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader,” wroteThe New York Times. The image had originally appeared on Ms. Greenfield’s Instagram account.”
“Mocking her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend,’ Mr. Trump said that the case against him should be dismissed. After Justice Engoron was alerted that day, Mr. Trump removed the post from social media.
Justice Friedman appeared to agree with Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the gag orders had not been warranted. At one point, he seemed to indicate that he held Ms. Greenfield responsible for the former president’s social media post, given that the picture of her with Mr. Schumer had come from her own Instagram account.”
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said his assets were actually undervalued. He has claimed that the entire case is politically motivated by an attorney general who explicitly ran on charging him with crimes.