Judge Engoron Under Probe for Chat With Lawyer Before Trump's $454 Million Fine

 May 9, 2024

An unsettling revelation has emerged from the corridors of New York’s judiciary. New York real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey has claimed he gave unsolicited advice to Judge Arthur Engoron shortly before a significant ruling against former President Donald Trump.

Daily Mail reported that Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing Trump's fraud trial, is under investigation after a New York City real estate lawyer claimed to have given him unsolicited advice.

Engoron, in his February 16 ruling, found Trump guilty of misrepresenting his wealth. This judgment came after years of bitter legal skirmish, with Trump recently labeling Engoron as 'crazed' and 'corrupt.' The former president responded to the ruling by securing a $175 million bond to pause any asset seizures as he appeals.

A Concerning Conversation Alleged Before the Judgment

Bailey, no stranger to the courtroom Engoron presides over, recounted an encounter with the judge, during which he purportedly urged Engoron to ensure his decision was accurate. "I saw him in the corner [at the courthouse] and I told my client, 'I need to go.' And I walked over and we started talking ... I want him to get it right," Bailey said.

However, Engoron’s spokesperson, Al Baker, has stoutly denied any inappropriate discussions influencing the judgment. "No ex parte conversation concerning this matter occurred between Justice Engoron and Mr. Bailey or any other person. The decision Justice Engoron issued February 16 was his alone, was deeply considered, and was wholly uninfluenced by this individual," said Baker.

The allegations are troubling, and they’ve prompted the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate whether Engoron broke any judicial protocols. The implications are profound, casting a shadow over the judiciary’s impartiality. The investigation is expected to extend over a year.

Trump's Defense Reacts to Allegations

Christopher Kise, a key member of Trump’s defense team, highlighted the severity of even minor breaches of conduct. Kise emphasized that judicial codes do not allow any latitude for the nature or influence of such interactions, suggesting that even a minor, seemingly insignificant conversation is a serious breach.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James is not pausing in her efforts to enforce the massive judgment. She has her eyes set on potentially seizing Trump’s iconic properties, including the famous 40 Wall Street, to satisfy the judgment unless Trump complies.

"If Trump hasn't made good on a $454 million court judgment against him by then from his New York fraud trial, she will begin seizing properties – hinting that Trump's prized Art Deco skyscraper 40 Wall Street could be in her sights," stated James.

This situation places Judge Engoron in a precarious position, potentially affecting public trust in judicial impartiality. It raises questions about the influences judges may face and the clarity required in judicial conduct.

Bailey, meanwhile, insists his intentions were benign, noting he is neither a supporter of Trump nor directly involved in the legal battles against him. This claim, however, does little to quell the unease that such accusations stir.

The Crucial Role of Judicial Integrity

If the investigation substantiates Bailey’s claims, ramifications could extend far beyond this case, influencing future judicial conduct and public confidence in legal outcomes. It underscores the delicate balance judges must maintain in their interactions, especially in cases with immense political and economic implications.

In conclusion, the situation encapsulates a complex intersection of law, politics, and ethical conduct, with the resolution likely to reverberate through the corridors of power in New York and beyond. The integrity of the judiciary hangs in the balance, awaiting a verdict not just on Trump’s financial dealings but on the very foundation of judicial fairness and impartiality.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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