Former US President Donald Trump has requested a mistrial in his civil fraud lawsuit, claiming that the judge hearing the case is prejudiced against him.
Trump’s lawyers said in a motion filed on Wednesday, November 15, that “the evidence of apparent and actual bias is tangible and overwhelming.”
The motion names Judge Arthur Engoron and his law clerk, who has been the target of numerous complaints from Trump’s counsel and the former president himself, resulting in the judge issuing a gag order.
Trump’s attorneys argue that the judge has unfairly ruled against Trump, made comments during the trial that they claim show bias, and has exceeded his discretion in working with his clerk, who has donated in excess of contribution limits to organizations that they claim support New York Attorney General Letitia James and others who oppose Trump.
“In this case the evidence of apparent and actual bias is tangible and overwhelming. Such evidence, coupled with an unprecedented departure from standard judicial procedure, has tainted these proceedings and a mistrial is warranted,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the motion.
Engoron indicated that he would deny the request, originally telling Trump’s counsel that he shouldn’t file it but then telling him that he may do so in writing.
Judge Engoron has defended his conversations with his law clerk, claiming that he has a “unfettered right” to discuss legal issues with her and pointing out that there are distinct limitations to political donations when campaigning, which his clerk was doing at one point.
Engoron’s gag order prevents Trump and his attorneys from making any statements concerning court personnel, particularly contacts with his legal clerk. Trump has already been penalized twice for breaking the gag order.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said;
“Once again, Donald Trump is trying to dismiss the truth and the facts, but the numbers and evidence don’t lie. Donald Trump is now being held accountable for the years of fraud he committed and the incredible ways he lied to enrich himself and his family. He can keep trying to distract from his fraud, but the truth always comes out.”