Trump's fraud-trial judge declines his 'nonsensical' mistrial bid

  • The judge in Trump's civil fraud trial did not mince words in rejecting a defense mistrial bid.

  • His decision criticizes Trump's 'irrelevant' and 'nonsensical' evidence and arguments.

  • The judge throws his full support behind Trump's favorite target in the case: the law clerk.

The judge in former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial in New York on Friday denied defense lawyers' bid for a mistrial, saying it was based on "irrelevant" and "nonsensical" arguments and evidence.

The six-page decision came two days after the defense asked that the trial be scuttled on claims that the judge and his principal law clerk were biased against them and that the law clerk was somehow running the trial.

"As I have made clear over the course of this trial, my rulings are mine, and mine alone," the judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron wrote in the decision.

The decision fact-checked claims that the defense had made against the principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, an attorney who is running for a judgeship herself and who has taken a vocal role in assisting Engoron from her seat just three feet to the judge's right.

Trump's side had accused Greenfield of being a partisan Democrat whose political campaign contributions exceeded the allowable individual donation of $500.

Candidates for judicial office are allowed under state law to exceed that limit in making contributions to their own campaigns and in purchasing tickets to political functions, the judge noted.

State law also allows "an absolute unfettered right to consult with my law clerks in any way, shape, or form I choose," the judge added.

Greenfield has been the frequent public subject of Trump's accusations and scorn, both online and in spoken comments, including right outside the courtroom door on the days he attended the trial. This has resulted in a limited gag order and two contempt-of-court findings.

On Thursday, a New York appellate judge temporarily lifted the gag order while a full appellate panel weighs if the gag violated the free-speech rights of Trump and his lawyers.

"As expected, today the Court refused to take responsibility for its failure to preside over this case in an impartial and unbiased manner," Trump lawyer Alina Habba responded in a press statement.

"We, however, remain undeterred and will continue to fight for our clients' right to a fair trial," she said.

State Attorney General Letitia James also issued a statement to the press shortly after the decision was announced.

"Once again, Donald Trump is trying to dismiss the truth and the facts, but the numbers and evidence don't lie," James said.

"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, she added. "He can keep trying to distract from his fraud, but the truth always comes out."

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