“Crazy thing to say to a judge”: Experts stunned after judge explodes at Trump lawyer’s “misogyny”

Judge Engoron pounded the table and threatened to gag Trump's lawyers for taking a shot at his law clerk

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published November 3, 2023 8:56AM (EDT)

ustice Arthur Engoron presides over the former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on November 02, 2023 in New York City. (Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images)
ustice Arthur Engoron presides over the former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on November 02, 2023 in New York City. (Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images)

The Manhattan judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud case blew up at the former president’s legal team for complaining about his law clerk on Thursday.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who previously issued a gag order and fined Trump twice for targeting law clerk Allison Greenfield, warned Trump attorney Chris Kise that he may expand the gag order after the lawyer made a comment about the clerk.

"Do not refer to my staff again," Engoron said, according to The Messenger, later adding: “She’s a civil servant.”

Trump previously attacked Greenfield on Truth Social, sharing a post falsely claiming that she was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., “girlfriend.”

"Sometimes I think there's a bit of misogyny in you referring to my female principal law clerk," Engoron told Kise on Thursday, warning that he may expand the gag order to include Trump’s legal team.

“I am not a misogynist,” Kise told the judge, according to The New York Times, noting that he’s happily married and has a daughter.

"I assure you that’s not the issue," fellow Trump lawyer Alina Habba insisted, before complaining about Greenfield having improper influences over the judge and arguing she can’t be a misogynist because she is a woman, according to the Times.

Kise and Habba continued to accuse the clerk of bias, claiming that she had written notes to the judge against the defense, according to The Messenger.

Engoron at one point became so frustrated he slammed the table.

“I have an absolute unfettered right to get advice from my principal law clerk!” he exclaimed.

MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin reported that Kise took a shot at Greenfield before the judge’s explosion.

“I'll wait again to get the note that you have from Ms. Greenfield. You may have a question for me. Maybe it is about dinner,” Kise told the judge, according to Rubin.

“That is an absolutely crazy thing to say to a judge.  Nutso,” tweeted conservative attorney George Conway.

“Kise acts as if he's never been in court before,” wrote former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, calling the attorney’s behavior “appalling.”

“Courthouse personnel shouldn't be the object of abuse by lawyers or parties, no matter who they are. Justice Engoron is absolutely right to protect his clerk,” wrote former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

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The Messenger’s report noted that while Habba was out of court on October 19, Kise got into a “verbal altercation” with two other female lawyers present in court, Greenfield and attorney general counsel Colleen Faherty, during a private huddle with Engoron. Though most of the conversation was inaudible to reporters, Faherty at one point snapped at Kise to “be more respectful.”

“No,” Kise shot back.

“That was rude,” Faherty said.

The exchange reportedly happened after Kise “made a dismissive comment in response to a question by Greenfield, questioned Faherty's intelligence, and then apologized,” according to The Messenger.

Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, a key witness at the trial, told MSNBC that the incident was part of a pattern for Kise.

"Chris Kise, there's something seriously wrong with him," Cohen said. "He attacked me vociferously when I was on the stand, getting up, calling me all sorts of — that's all they do, is they know how to denigrate. It's not going to bode well for him. It's about the last thing that you want to do.”

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Alina Habba Arthur Engoron Chris Kise Donald Trump Letitia James Politics