that of Donald Trump civil trial for fraud in New York went off the rails on Friday before things even got started – and by the end of the day, an increasingly exasperated audience Judge Arthur Engoronwho furiously accused Trump’s legal team of misogyny Thursday, issued a severe message gag order on the lawyers representing the former president.
Engoron barred Trump’s lawyers, Chris Kise, Alina Habba and Clifford Robert, from making statements “about internal and confidential communications (whether conversations, passed notes or anything similar) between me and my staff,” after making “official and repeated statements.” inappropriate remarks about my senior lawyer, falsely accusing her of bias against them and unduly influencing the trial.
“Since this trial began, my office has been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters and packages,” the order states. “The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my personnel is far outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm.”
The order is intentionally narrow and doesn’t stop anyone from saying whatever they want about Engoron. It expands an existing silence order that, until Friday, applied only to Trump and not his lawyers, whom Engoron said he assumed would be “useless…(as they are) officers of the law.”
Friday’s proceedings opened with Engoron raising very obvious concerns about Trump and his legal team repeatedly haranguing Engoron’s lawyer, Allison Greenfield, about perceptions of “bias.”
“It worries me,” Engoron said.
“To the extent that there is a perception of bias,” defense attorney Chris Kise responded, he had to “as a lawyer…at least mark it.”
Engoron said he did not consider the matter a political matter and “promised not to knock on the table, on the bench again”, but reiterated that he had “an absolute right to obtain help” from his clerk, who sits beside him. on the bench, and said he had “no idea” how that demonstrated bias.
“You can say whatever you want about me,” he said. “And it was put to good use. I think this is where there would be an appearance of bias, but I cut this thing right down the middle.
At this, Kise launched into a rant about things “walking in a dangerous zone here”.
“The whole country, even the world, is watching this process,” he lamented. “And the United States has been a model of integrity and impartiality in the justice system since its inception. Nothing here should give the impression that respect for these principles has wavered… Yes, as a judge you have the right to receive (help), but from someone who is biased potentially demonstrable…and the way it happened, we need to at least make a record.
Kise repeated the same argument he made late Thursday, complaining that “things are frequently, even excessively, (settled) against us on every major issue.” He said he felt like he was fighting “two adversaries, not just one,” and referred to an article published Thursday night calling for Greenfield’s delisting because of his political donations to Democrats.
He said the allegations in the article were “referred to the court” on Friday morning and he may seek a mistrial, adding that the same “information” about “extrajudicial conduct” was raised last month. last.
“It’s not information, it’s an allegation,” Engoron said dryly, saying he had no idea what article Kise was talking about and hadn’t seen it.
Kise didn’t remember which publication it was, but said, “I think it might be Breitbart,” to laughter from the gallery. (It was indeed a Breitbart article about a complaint filed by a Wisconsin man not involved in the lawsuit.)
It was at this point that Engoron seemed to have had enough, calling Kise’s claim that Engoron had been informed of the story in question on Friday morning, “ABSOLUTELY FALSE, OKAY?!”
“I would have remembered having received such an allegation,” he thundered, adding. “Let’s let everyone in the room decide what they think about Breitbart… It’s a shame things have come down to this level.”
After Engoron informed the defense that he simply wanted to “move the trial along,” Eric Trump He finally took the stand – about 30 minutes late – to resume his testimony from Thursday.
He said he only approved his father’s allegedly manipulated financial statements after highly paid experts assured him everything was fine.
“I relied on one of the largest accounting firms in the country and an excellent legal team,” Eric testified.
Later, he provided contradictory answers on whether his father’s Mar-a-Lago estate is a private residence or a members-only club. (Trump made this property his residence after his presidency ended.)
“It is very clear that Mar-a-Lago is not a club, it is a private residence,” Eric said, later responding to a question from the prosecutor, “Mar-a-Lago is a private club , Yes.”
Relations between Engoron and Trump’s team have become increasingly frosty. At the end of Thursday’s work, Engoron exploded in Kisebanging on the bench and threatening to extend silence to prevent Trump’s lawyers from attacking court staff.
Kise had complained that Greenfield was passing notes to Engoron, suggesting that she was “co-judging” the trial. But a furious Engoron said he had an “absolute and unlimited right to seek advice” from his top lawyer, arguing that there “might be a bit of misogyny” in the repeated attacks on Greenfield. (Kise insisted he couldn’t be a misogynist because he’s married and has a daughter.)
Engoron previously fined Trump $15,000 for repeatedly attacking Greenfield in violation of a gag order, including a social media post in which he called Greenfield “(Chuck) Schumer’s girlfriend “.