Judge in Trump civil fraud trial was sent envelope with white powder

<span>Judge Arthur Engoron in New York City on 11 January. </span><span>Photograph: Getty Images</span>
Judge Arthur Engoron in New York City on 11 January. Photograph: Getty Images

The New York judge who oversaw Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial was sent an envelope containing a white powder on Wednesday, triggering a police investigation.

The envelope addressed to Judge Arthur Engoron, who clashed repeatedly with the former president and his legal team throughout the Manhattan fraud trial, was intercepted by two court officers just before 9.30am. Court staff check the mail as a security measure after the judge was inundated with threats before, during and after Trump’s civil fraud trial, including a bomb threat at his home on the day of closing arguments.

There were no reported injuries, and the white powder is not believed to be harmful, law enforcement sources told ABC News. Engoron, who handed down an almost half-billion-dollar judgment against Trump, his sons and companies, was not exposed.

A New York City police spokesperson said: “Officers responded to a 911 call for a suspicious powder found at 60 Centre Street ... A New York state court officer opened an envelope and white powder fell out. No injuries reported at this time and the building is not being evacuated.”

“We have a few units on scene and we are investigating,” the police official told Law360, which first reported the scare. The police and the fire department responded.

Engoron was bombarded with threats linked to Trump’s rants against him and his clerk, prompting the judge to impose a limited gag order on the furious former president. Trump and his sons are appealing the $454m civil fraud penalty, accusing Engoron of overstepping his authority and issuing “punitive” relief.

The court incident comes just days after emergency crews in hazmat suits responded to a letter containing white powder and a death threat sent to the Florida residence of Trump’s eldest son. Donald Trump Jr opened the letter on Monday but was not harmed. He previously received unidentified white powder through the mail in 2018, as did his brother Eric in 2016.

Law enforcement take white powder seriously. In 2001, letters containing deadly anthrax were mailed to media organizations and two US senators’ offices, killing five people.