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 November 11, 2023

Elise Stefanik makes a complaint with the state's ethics commission against the judge in the Trump fraud trial

Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, has filed a judicial ethics complaint against the New York judge who is presiding over the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump. 

In her complaint, Stefanik asserts that the judge has demonstrated "inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance" toward the former president, and she is demanding that the judge step down from his position. Stefanik is also calling for the judge to be removed from office, as The Hill reported.

According to a letter that Stefanik sent to the New York State Commission on Judicial behavior, Judge Arthur Engoron has demonstrated a "clear judicial bias" against Donald Trump and has violated "several rules" in the state's code of judicial behavior.

“This judge’s bizarre behavior has no place in our judicial system, where Judge Engoron is not honoring the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial,” Stefanik wrote.

The lawmaker asserted that those “serious concerns” are amplified by Trump’s status as the front-runner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.

In the letter, Trump's attorneys reiterate many of the points they've made throughout the case, such as their contention that there were "no victims" of the former president's business operations and their claim that Engoron improperly prejudged the case.

Before the trial began, Engoron determined that Trump, the Trump Organization and numerous officials — including Trump's adult sons — were guilty for fraud.

Although a New York appeals court has temporarily halted the termination of Trump's business licenses until it hears Trump's case, the ruling stripped Trump of his business licenses and put several of his renowned properties at jeopardy.

As the seven-week trial continues, Engoron has emerged as an unexpected adversary of Trump. As the former president testified in the attorney general of New York's case against him, the two butted heads.

“I’m sure the judge will rule against me, because he always rules against me,” Trump said Monday.

On multiple occasions, Engoron asked Trump's attorney Chris Kise to rein in the former president because of his lengthy, meandering answers to the state's inquiries, which he compared to the candidate's stump speeches.

“Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally,” Engoron said.

Trump's behavior toward Engoron began to seriously break down after the judge issued a limited gag order banning the former president or other parties from commenting about the judge's chief law clerk, whom Trump and his staff have characterized as biased and "Trump-hating."

Stefanik spends a lot of time in her letter condemning the gag order and discussing the clerk, who she claims has donated to Democratic donors and causes.

“If anyone in America must have the constitutional right to speak out against the judge, his staff, the witnesses, or the process, it’s a defendant going through a process he believes is politicized and weaponized against him,” Stefanik wrote. “To gag a defendant is un-American.”

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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