Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has lodged a formal complaint on judicial ethics against the New York judge presiding over former President Trump’s civil fraud trial. In her complaint filed on Friday, Stefanik alleges that Judge Arthur Engoron has displayed “inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance” towards the former president and calls for his resignation.
Stefanik asserts that Judge Engoron has exhibited a “clear judicial bias” against Trump and has violated several rules within the state’s judicial conduct code. She contends that the judge’s behavior is incompatible with the principles of the judicial system, where he is failing to uphold the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial. Stefanik emphasizes that these concerns are especially concerning given Trump’s status as the frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
In her letter to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Stefanik echoes arguments put forth by Trump’s legal team during the case. These include the assertion that there were “no victims” of the former president’s business dealings and that Judge Engoron had prematurely formed opinions about the case.
Prior to the commencement of the trial, Judge Engoron made a ruling that held Trump, the Trump Organization, and several executives liable for fraud, a decision that had significant implications for Trump’s business licenses and properties. However, a New York appeals court temporarily halted the cancellation of the business licenses pending a hearing on Trump’s case.
During the ongoing seven-week trial, Judge Engoron emerged as an unexpected adversary to Trump. Tensions escalated as the former president took the witness stand in the New York attorney general’s case against him. Trump criticized the judge for his perceived bias and expressed frustration with his objections to Trump’s lengthy responses.
Engoron even imposed a limited gag order, preventing Trump and other parties from discussing the judge’s principal law clerk, whom Trump and his team accused of bias and animosity towards him. This order further strained relations between Trump and the judge.