The New York state judge presiding over Donald Trump’s $250 million fraud case in New York denied his request for a mistrial on Friday, calling the former president’s arguments “completely without merit.”
Short and sweet VerdictJudge Arthur Engoron said he refused to even allow arguments on the mistrial motion because the motion’s premises were flawed and it was “pointless.” The judge described Trump’s reasoning for closing the trial, now in its second month, as “disingenuous,” “bad faith” and “nonsensical.”
Trump’s lawyers filed the lawsuit Court application On Wednesday, he argued that Engoron and his law clerk had shown bias against the former president. They also accused the court clerk, who sits next to the judge in the courtroom, of improperly acting as a “co-judge” in the case.
The clerk’s “position as de facto co-judge” violates the Judicial Code and creates “the appearance, if not the fact, that a co-judge is presiding over the trial,” they wrote.
Engoron, who last week issued a judge’s order barring Trump’s lawyers from disparaging the employee after previously fining Trump for comments he made about her, denied Trump’s lawyers’ allegations, as he has done before in court had.
He said he has the “absolute unfettered right” to consult his caseworker as often as he wishes and “as I have made clear throughout this process, my decisions are mine alone.” There is no “co-judgment” in the game.”
The judge also disputed claims by Trump’s lawyers that his employee made political donations to Democrats that exceeded legal limits. Engoron said the lawyers were wrong in their facts and calculations, adding that the clerk’s financial contributions were “well below the ethically and legally permissible annual limit” and that the lawyers did not take into account that his clerk was herself running for judgeship have.
He also called the arguments that she was biased “nonsensical” and a “red herring” since the clerk “doesn’t make decisions or give orders – I do.”
Responding to claims that he was biased when he said during Trump’s testimony that he wasn’t there to hear what the former president “had to say,” Engoron called those accusations “disingenuous” and a “bad faith” argument . The judge noted that the attorneys “omitted what I said immediately after that sentence, which was ‘I’m here to hear him answer questions.'” In fact, those are precisely the roles of the witness and the Experts.”
Trump’s lawyers had also alleged that the judge had ruled against them far more often than against the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who had brought the fraud charges against Trump and his company. Engoron called this argument “equally baseless.”
“I stand by every single decision and they speak for themselves,” he said Friday.
Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said she was not surprised by the verdict.
“As expected, the court today refused to accept responsibility for failing to approach this case impartially and without bias. However, we remain undeterred and will continue to fight for our clients’ right to a fair trial,” she said in a statement.
On Thursday, Trump’s lawyers appealed Engoron’s gag order, which barred them and their client from complaining about the employee. The judge had said he was concerned that focusing on the employee could jeopardize her safety and the safety of his co-workers. A state appeals court judge temporarily lifted Engoron’s silence order after Trump’s lawyers claimed his First Amendment rights had been violated.
The temporary pause is expected to remain in place until a full panel of judges from the state’s Appellate Division considers the appeal later this month.