In a recent tweet, Donald Trump once again criticized Judge Arthur Engoron, this time referring to him as “CRAZY” and even suggesting that he should be removed from his position on the bench. Trump’s ongoing feud with Engoron seems to have no end in sight, as he continues to use his platform to voice his displeasure with the judge’s decisions. It remains to be seen if any action will be taken in response to Trump’s latest comments.
The former President, Donald Trump, finds himself in the midst of a $250 million civil fraud trial, which arose from a lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, in the previous year. The lawsuit claims that Trump and the top executives at The Trump Organization conspired together to inflate his net worth by billions of dollars on financial statements submitted to banks and insurers to secure loans and make deals. Despite being the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has called the trial politically motivated.
Recently, Judge Engoron, who is presiding over the case, imposed a second fine on Trump for disregarding a partial gag order intended to prevent him from attacking court staff who are overseeing James’ lawsuit. Trump was first fined $5,000 by Engoron on October 20 for violating the gag order when he failed to take down a post from his social media platform, Truth Social, even after the judge had ordered its removal over two weeks prior.
In the past, Trump has expressed his dissatisfaction with Judge Engoron, even going as far as calling him an “incompetent” judge and a “political hack” just last Saturday. This was in response to the judge’s ruling regarding Ivanka Trump’s testimony, where he stated that she must appear in person. Although Ivanka isn’t a defendant in the case, due to her business and property ownership in New York, she can be subpoenaed in the state.
The judge expressed his preference for hearing testimony in person. “I want to see her in person. That is how we prefer testimony,” he stated.
During his recent appearance on Truth Social, Donald Trump once again discussed the judge involved in the case, stating, “The judge who presides over this case has a clear bias against me. The case itself should never have been brought forward by the corrupt and racist Attorney General. If any other judge had been assigned to this case, it would have been thrown out. Even the star witness admitted to lying- ‘TRUMP did not Inflate Values.’ The judge’s evaluation of Mar-a-Lago, which he claims is worth $18,000,000, is completely inaccurate as it is actually worth 50 to 100 times that amount. It’s clear to me that this judge is unfit to rule on this case and may even be mentally unstable.”
In a fiery statement, Trump expressed his frustration with the judge, stating that he believes the judge is corrupt and unjustly gags and fines him without reason. He went on to call for the judge to be removed from the bench, citing his behavior as a source of embarrassment for the state of New York. Despite the appeals court’s decision, Trump remains at odds with the judge and his handling of the case.
An email has been sent by Newsweek to a spokesperson of Trump requesting for their comment.
According to law professor Anthony Michael Kreis, in an interview with Newsweek on Sunday, criminal defendants hold the right to criticize judges as long as they do not engage in any threatening activity. He also added that although displaying public disdain for a judge before whom you have a case may not be a wise move, it still remains a form of political bluster and should not be subjected to punishment.
According to Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, in an interview with Newsweek on Sunday, the partial gag order imposed on Trump by Judge Engoron only applies to court staff and not the judge himself.
According to Aronberg, Trump will not face any sanctions for his provocative statements. Nevertheless, the judge may consider expanding the gag order to include other individuals, including Aronberg himself.