Elise Stefanik Accuses Judge in Trump’s Trial of Bias
Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, has recently lodged a formal complaint with the judicial ethics authority in New York against the judge presiding over the civil fraud case involving the former President. She accuses the judge of exhibiting bias and a lack of judicial restraint in his dealings with the former president and suggests that he step down from his position.
In a strongly worded letter to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Stefanik asserts that Judge Arthur Engoron has demonstrated unmistakable prejudice against Trump, alleging violations of the judicial conduct code of the state. She contends that the judge’s actions compromise the former president’s entitlement to due process and an unbiased trial, emphasizing that these issues carry greater weight due to Trump’s prominent role in the upcoming Republican primary for the 2024 presidential election.
Stefanik’s letter echoes several of the defenses put forward by Trump’s legal team, arguing that Trump’s business activities harmed no one and that the judge made premature judgments about the case.
Before the trial’s commencement, Engoron found Trump and his business liable for fraud, endangering Trump’s business licenses and iconic properties. However, this ruling has been temporarily halted by an appellate court pending a review of Trump’s appeal.
The trial, which has stretched over seven weeks and is still in progress, has seen tensions rise between Trump and Engoron, particularly when Trump testified. Trump has publicly voiced his expectation of adverse rulings from Engoron, based on past experiences.
Engoron has had to frequently check Trump’s extensive responses, which resembled his political rally speeches, and has asked Trump’s lawyer to manage his client’s courtroom conduct.
Adding to the contention, after the judge issued a gag order limiting comments about his principal law clerk—who has been a subject of criticism by Trump and his legal team for perceived bias—Trump’s responses took a more confrontational turn. Stefanik’s correspondence delves into the clerk’s political engagements and questions the fairness of imposing a gag order, labeling it as contrary to American values.
The commission’s spokesperson has stated that matters brought before them remain confidential by law until any ethical misconduct is established and a public declaration is made.
The state is seeking considerable financial penalties from Trump and restrictions on his business operations within New York. Following the state’s conclusion of its presentation, Trump’s defense is anticipated to commence their argument early next week.