January 20, 2024
By Cami Mondeaux
EXCLUSIVE — House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) filed a judicial complaint against Judge Arthur Engoron, accusing him of “inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance” as he oversees former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud case in New York.
Stefanik filed the complaint on Friday after the New York Court of Appeals dismissed a challenge from Trump earlier this week that sought to appeal a gag order imposed on the former president related to the fraud case. Stefanik is challenging the court’s dismissal, accusing Engoron of displaying “biased misconduct” against the former president, according to the complaint first obtained by the Washington Examiner.
“The Court dodged addressing a crucial issue, which has ramifications for all New Yorkers. Simply stated, it is unacceptable that any judge in America would place an unconstitutional gag order on a defendant,” Stefanik wrote in a letter to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding Engoron. “If there is anyone who must have the constitutional right to speak out against the judge, court staff, prosecutor, and process, it is a defendant going through a process he believes has been politicized and weaponized against him.”
Stefanik also pointed to Trump’s position as the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary, arguing Engoron’s gag order amounts to “election interference.”
The most recent accusations are an addition to a previous judicial complaint Stefanik submitted in November that accused the judge of bias against Trump and called on him to recuse himself from the case. Stefanik later filed a supplemental complaint against Engoron and his law clerk citing political donations and other conduct that the GOP chairwoman contended was “illegal” and “biased misconduct.”
Engoron imposed a gag order on Trump in early October after the former president repeatedly criticized the judge’s staff in the civil fraud case. Trump had especially attacked Engoron’s clerk Allison Greenfield, whom the former president’s lawyers alleged had violated court ethics rules by donating more than $500 to Democratic causes. Engoron later pushed back on those allegations, noting the guidelines did not apply to Greenfield because she is a candidate for a New York judgeship.
Trump’s lawyers later appealed that the gag order be removed, but the state’s appeals court shot down that effort on Tuesday, ruling it had “no substantial constitutional question is directly involved.”
“Illegally gagging the leading presidential candidate — Democrat Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron’s election interference — is shocking and appalling,” Stefanik said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “This undermines the public’s faith and confidence in our New York courts. This is why I am supplementing again my judicial complaint against Judge Engoron.”
The complaint is the latest development in Trump’s civil fraud case in New York, where state Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the former president, accusing his family business and his sons of manipulating financial statements and assets to defraud banks and insurers.
Engoron is the presiding judge over the case and is set to determine the sentencing. Stefanik, a staunch ally of the former president, has repeatedly pushed back against the charges, claiming they are politically based and intended to harm Trump’s reelection bid.
The complaint comes as Stefanik is slated to campaign in New Hampshire for Trump this weekend, just days before the state holds the first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday. Stefanik has also been recently rumored to be under consideration to be Trump’s running mate.
The Washington Examiner contacted Engoron’s office for comment but has not yet received a response.
Read the article in The Washington Examiner here.