Written by Ashton Snyder on
 May 10, 2024

Judge Arthur Engoron Investigated After Alleged Advice Before Trump's $454M Fine

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has launched an investigation into Judge Arthur Engoron after allegations surfaced that he received unsolicited advice from a high-profile lawyer before delivering a significant ruling against former President Donald Trump.

As reported by Daily Mail, Judge Engoron's impartiality is questioned after claims surface of unauthorized discussions before slapping Trump with a $454 million penalty.

The controversy began when Adam Leitman Bailey, a prominent New York real estate attorney, allegedly conversed with Judge Arthur Engoron just weeks before the judge ordered Donald Trump to pay a staggering $454 million. This sum was connected with a judgment against the former president for alleged misdeeds in his business practices.

Early Allegations of Improper Communication

According to reports, Bailey approached Judge Engoron at a courthouse, initiating a dialogue that he later described as intended to influence the judge’s understanding of the economic implications of the judgment on New York. Bailey, who has appeared before Judge Engoron hundreds of times, claimed the discussion was about the case’s broader economic impacts, not specific legal arguments.

However, the nature of this interaction has raised significant concerns. Judicial conduct rules strictly prohibit such ex parte communications—discussions with one party absent the others—unless they involve advice from a neutral expert. This rule aims to maintain fairness and impartiality in the judiciary, preventing any undue influence on legal decisions.

Response from Engoron's Camp

Responding to these allegations, Judge Engoron's spokesman, Al Baker, asserted that no improper conversation took place. He emphasized that the judgment was solely the product of Engoron’s own deliberation and was unaffected by any external influence. Baker's statement sought to reinforce the integrity of the judicial process despite the swirling accusations.

Trump’s defense, however, has not taken these claims lightly. Christopher Kise, a member of Trump’s legal team, criticized the alleged interaction, suggesting it could undermine the entirety of the judicial proceeding. Kise pointed to the judicial code, which does not allow any leeway for informal or seemingly inconsequential discussions of this nature.

Financial Implications and Legal Maneuvers

In the wake of the judgment, Donald Trump has been vocally critical of Judge Engoron, labeling him as ‘crazed’ and ‘corrupt.’ To avoid immediate asset seizure during his appeal, Trump secured a $175 million bond—a sum reduced by the court from a higher initial demand after his lawyers argued that securing an underwriter for the full amount was not feasible.

Further complicating matters, New York Attorney General Letitia James had been poised to begin seizing properties, including Trump's notable 40 Wall Street, should the judgment not be satisfied.

This potential seizure was averted by Trump’s posting of the bond, which satisfies the judgment during the appeals process and could be returned should the appeal prove successful.

Broader Implications for Judicial Conduct

The ongoing investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct will likely focus on the specifics of the conversation between Bailey and Engoron and whether it breached the stringent requirements of judicial behavior. This investigation comes at a time when the credibility and impartiality of the judiciary are under intense public scrutiny.

Bailey has maintained that his intentions were to ensure the judge was fully aware of the consequences of a hefty financial judgment against Trump, stating, “I wanted him to know what I think and why…I really want him to get it right.” His comments highlight the delicate balance judges must maintain between being informed and being influenced.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

As the investigation unfolds, the legal community and the public alike await further clarity on these potentially rule-breaking discussions. The outcome could have significant implications for the involved parties and the standards of judicial conduct in high-stakes litigation. This case is a stark reminder of the critical need for transparency and adherence to judicial ethics to maintain public trust in the legal system.

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About Ashton Snyder

Independent conservative news without a leftist agenda.
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