Former President Donald Trump has filed for a mistrial in his civil fraud case in New York, accusing the judge overseeing the trial of being biased against him.
In a motion filed Wednesday, Trump’s attorneys said that Judge Arthur Engoron should declare a mistrial because of his “tangible and overwhelming” bias against the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, who is accused of dramatically inflating his net worth.
Since the trial began seven weeks ago, Trump has repeatedly accused Engoron and his law clerk of bias, sparring with the judge over the former president’s typically chaotic behavior in court. At one point, Engoron placed Trump under a gag order after Trump began making disparaging comments on social media about Engoron’s clerk.
Earlier this month, Trump took the stand in his fraud trial after losing an appeal, and attempted to turn his testimony into a campaigning opportunity by claiming he is a victim of political persecution. Engoron told Trump to keep his answers on the stand concise, reminding him that the courtroom “is not a political rally.”
The motion accuses Engoron of unfairly placing the gag order, making biased comments during the trial and working too closely with a law clerk who has donated in the past to organizations that Trump’s attorneys allege support New York Attorney General Letitia James.
A spokesperson for James said the motion to declare a mistrial is another example of Trump “trying to dismiss the truth and the facts,” according to CNN.
“There is simply no room at the bench for such open and obvious indicia of bias,” the motion by Trump’s attorneys reads. “Indeed, left unchecked, the introduction of such demonstrable pro-Attorney General and anti-Trump/big real estate bias into a case of worldwide interest involving the front-runner for the Presidency of the United States impugns the integrity of the entire system.”
In addition to Trump’s motion, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) filed an ethics complaint last week against Engoron, accusing the judge of exhibiting “bizarre behavior” and “clear judicial bias” against Trump. Stefanik, who was the first Republican to endorse Trump in the 2024 election, called for Engoron to recuse himself from the case.
According to CNN, Engoron has already signaled that he plans to deny the motion, initially advising Trump’s legal team that they should not file it before saying they can file it in writing.
The civil fraud case is one of four indictments Trump is currently facing. The former president has also been charged at the federal and state level of crimes including illegally keeping classified documents at his home in Florida, and plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Still, the indictments, which are expected to last through peak campaign season next year, have not stopped Trump from running for president again.
Despite several other Republicans joining the primary, the former president remains by far the party’s leading candidate. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said that the body would support Trump if voters choose him as the nominee, regardless of whether he is convicted of a crime.