In a recent high-profile civil fraud trial involving former President Donald Trump, legal expert Michael Conway has expressed concerns over New York Judge Arthur Engoron’s approach. This $250 million trial, as reported by the Conservative Brief on November 27, 2023, sees Conway drawing parallels with the historic “Chicago 7” case, noting Trump’s similar strategy of provoking the judge.
Judge Engoron, known for his forthright language, has described Trump’s legal arguments as “pure sophistry,” “risible,” and “bogus,” raising questions about potential judicial bias. He has also imposed sanctions of $7,500 on five of Trump’s attorneys for making what he considers “borderline frivolous” arguments.
Conway, in his MSNBC column, highlights the risk associated with Engoron’s strong language and demeanor. He suggests that it might backfire, giving grounds for an appellate court to overturn his decisions if perceived as unjustified. The use of such language, while reflecting the judge’s stance, could be construed as evidence of bias, particularly in appeals, The Epoch Times reported.
The article further delves into a mistrial request from Trump’s legal team, citing an “appearance of bias” due to Engoron’s past involvement in a high school newsletter and the political contributions of his chief law clerk, Allison Greenfield. Engoron dismissed this request as “utterly without merit,” defending his and Greenfield’s impartiality.
Conway’s critique extends to what he views as potential overreactions by Engoron to Trump’s lawyers. He advises the judge to remain cautious and avoid impulsive responses to provocation, ensuring that the trial’s credibility is not undermined in appellate proceedings, Raw Story noted.
This trial, involving a former president, places additional scrutiny on Judge Engoron’s conduct and language. The balance he must strike between maintaining fairness and not giving any appearance of bias is crucial, especially given the complexity and high stakes of the legal proceedings.