Trump Pushes For Judge Engoron’s Recusal Over Ethics Concerns

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is pressing New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron to step aside from his case, citing potential ethical violations. This move follows a state Commission on Judicial Conduct investigation into Engoron’s interactions with a real estate lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey, prior to Engoron imposing a $454 million penalty on Trump.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, emphasized that the New York Code of Judicial Conduct mandates fairness and impartiality in trials. She argued that Engoron’s conversation with Bailey about the case breached this code, rendering the judge unfit to preside impartially.

According to Habba, “Justice Engoron’s communications with Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey regarding the merits of this case… demonstrate that Judge Engoron cannot serve as a fair arbiter.”

Bailey revealed his conversation with Engoron in February, noting that he believed it to be “off the record.” He clarified that their discussion focused on Engoron’s September Summary Judgment decision, which found Trump and his co-defendants guilty of fraud related to Trump Organization property valuations. Bailey asserted, “I did not think that speaking to Judge Engoron about my own personal views of his already published decision was wrong in any way.”

Trump’s legal team argued that Bailey’s public statements, as reported by WNBC, suggest inappropriate external influence on the judge. Their motion stressed the need for Engoron’s recusal due to the appearance of impropriety and the potential breach of judicial ethics.

“The allegations have surfaced revealing this Court may have engaged in actions fundamentally incompatible with the responsibilities attendant to donning the black robe and sitting in judgment,” the filing stated. It highlighted concerns that Engoron might have engaged in prohibited communications regarding the case’s merits, violating judicial ethics.

The pending investigation by the Commission on Judicial Conduct adds weight to these concerns, according to Trump’s legal team. They argue that the investigation underscores the necessity for Engoron’s recusal to maintain the integrity of the judicial process. The motion concluded, “There is no other means of dispelling the shadow that now looms over this Court’s impartiality, fairness, and ability to adhere to the Code.”

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