- Rep. Elise Stefanik, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, has filed a complaint calling for the removal of the judge presiding over the $250 million business fraud case against former President Donald Trump.
- Stefanik said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Ingoro showed “clear judicial bias” against Trump.
- Ingoron is leading the prosecution of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accuses Trump, his two grown children and others of defrauding their net worth for various financial benefits.
House Republican Conference Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) speaks at a news conference after a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, May 10, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Drew Anger Getty Images
Rep. Elise Stefanik, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, filed an ethics complaint on Friday calling for the removal of the judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s $250 million business fraud trial.
Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican and one of Trump’s staunchest allies in the House, complained to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Ingoron that he had shown “clear judicial bias” against the former president and that he had displayed “outrageous behavior” during his tenure. Profile civil trial.
Stefanik, whose assembly district covers northeastern New York, urged the state Commission on Judicial Conduct to “take corrective action to restore due process and protect our constitutional rights.”
Stefanik wrote that although the commission does not have the power to remove certain judges, Ingoron “should stay out of this case.”
The complaint is a dramatic move by Trump’s political allies in Washington to join aggressive efforts to undermine Ingoro, whose decision on the issue could be a major blow to the former president and his business empire.
Stefanik’s letter, which is not a lawyer and has nothing to do with the case, could be used to support Trump’s argument if he ultimately appeals Ingoron’s rulings.
After a week of testimony in the trial of members of the Trump family, some lawyers said they did not help their case.
The case settles a claim brought by New York Attorney General Leticia James.
Ingoron makes a decision in a no-trial proceeding, because neither side has previously requested a jury trial.
Ingoron has previously accused the defendants of fraud. The trial itself will determine how much the defendants will be ordered to pay in damages or other penalties. The judge will review six other claims in James’ lawsuit that have yet to be resolved.
In addition to seeking nearly $250 million in damages, James also wants to permanently bar Trump Sr., Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from running the New York business.
Stefanik’s letter echoed many of Trump’s criticisms of Engron and James when she asked the commission to sanction the judge on Friday.
She lashed out at the judge for striking a pose for cameras in the courtroom on the first day of the trial, granting James partial summary judgment in a pretrial motion and issuing a gag order against Trump and his attorneys. She also echoed Trump’s claim that the value of his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, was much higher than the estimate during the trial.
Ingoron barred Trump from making public statements after Trump repeatedly targeted the chief justice’s chief law clerk during the second day of the hearing. The judge later extended that gag order after Trump’s lawyers made “repeated and inappropriate comments” about the secretary.
Since Trump’s suspension, he has violated that narrow gag order twice and has been fined $15,000. Stefanik called the gag order “un-American.”
Her letter also targeted the secretary for allegedly making political donations to Democratic candidates beyond what was allowed as a court official.
“Judge Ingoron’s strange and biased behavior is making a laughing stock of the New York justice system,” Stefanik wrote. “The commission’s sanction against Judge Ingoron is necessary to restore integrity to our great state’s legal system.”