The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial said the former president’s motion for a mistrial is “utterly without merit,” denying his effort to be heard on the issue.
Judge Arthur Engoron responded in a written order to Trump’s claim earlier this week that the judge and his principal law clerk are biased against him. In the filing Trump’s team cited the judge’s rulings, commentary and his law clerk’s political activities.
Trump asked the judge to grant an order to show cause which would allow Trump and the New York attorney general’s office to make legal briefings and be heard on the issue. The attorney general’s team didn’t object to a briefing schedule but said they didn’t want it to interfere with the trial, which is expected to finish next month.
On Friday, Engoron said there was no point for a briefing as he stands by his rulings and defended his law clerk’s political activities, including donations she made while campaigning for office, saying they fell within the appropriate limits.
“I cannot sign a proposed order to show cause that is utterly without merit, and upon which subsequent briefing would therefore be futile,” the judge wrote. “I stand by each and every ruling, and they speak for themselves.”
Engoron added, “There is absolutely no ‘co-judging’ at play.”
The decision came the day after a New York appeals court judge temporarily lifted Engoron’s gag order on Trump and his attorneys to prohibit them from making statements about his law clerk.
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