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TFG and His Criminal Cartel’s Mounting Legal Woes:
As expected, Donald Trump filed a Motion for a Mistrial in the NY civil fraud case on Wednesday. But the most shocking part is not that Trump filed for a mistrial (he and his lawyers have said they would), but that Trump and his lawyer’s used the Motion in order to further attack Judge Arthur Engoron’s Principal Law Clerk, Allison Greenfield.
As these photographs reflect, the Principal Law Clerk is given unprecedented and inappropriate latitude. Demarest Aff., ¶23. Indeed, before the Court rules on most issues, the Court either pauses to consult with her on the bench or receives from her contemporaneous written notes. Demarest Aff., ¶ 21. While a Justice of the Court no doubt has ample discretion to consult with his or her Law Secretaries, this unprecedented arrangement exceeds the outer limits of such discretion. Demarest Aff., ¶ 23. At a minimum, the appearance of “co-judging” is manifest, and the public (and litigants) may conclude fairly that an unelected staff member has, as is evident from the above images, a direct role in presiding over the trial. Demarest Aff., ¶ 23. This creates an appearance of impropriety contrary to the letter and spirit of the Rules of Judicial Conduct. See id. ¶ 23; see also 22 N.Y.C.R.R. § 100.2 (“A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities”). Only a judge, not an unelected staff member, may exercise judicial authority under the New York Constitution, and the People of New York declined to elect the Principal Law Clerk when she ran for office. She therefore has no constitutional authority to act as a “co-judge,” and the impropriety of her participation is further magnified by the fact that she has violated a separate canon of ethics by making partisan political contributions in excess of strict limits, including to organizations actively supporting Attorney General James and opposing President Trump. The impact of this untoward level of participation by the Principal Law Clerk cannot be overstated. Indeed, during a candidate forum in connection with her erstwhile campaign for Manhattan Civil Court, the Principal Law Clerk herself framed her role as co-equal, describing her participation in a high-profile real estate case as follows: “we were incredibly active in that case” and “we tried to stop the two towers.”