The civil fraud case against former President Donald Trump took a heated turn on Thursday when the Manhattan judge presiding over the case reprimanded Trump’s legal team for criticizing his law clerk. Judge Arthur Engoron, who had previously issued a gag order and fined Trump for targeting law clerk Allison Greenfield, warned Trump attorney Chris Kise that he may expand the gag order after Kise made a comment about the clerk.
Engoron made it clear that he would not tolerate any further criticism of his staff, stating, “Do not refer to my staff again. She’s a civil servant.” This came after Trump had attacked Greenfield on his social media platform, Truth Social, falsely claiming that she was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s girlfriend.
The tension in the courtroom escalated when Kise and fellow Trump lawyer Alina Habba accused Greenfield of bias, alleging that she had written notes to the judge against the defense. Engoron became visibly frustrated and even slammed the table at one point, asserting his right to consult with his law clerk.
During the proceedings, Kise took a shot at Greenfield, suggesting that he was waiting for a note from her, possibly about dinner. This remark drew criticism from conservative attorney George Conway, who called it “absolutely crazy,” and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, who deemed Kise’s behavior “appalling.”
The incident involving Kise is part of a pattern, according to former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who described Kise as someone “seriously wrong.” Cohen, a key witness in the trial, recounted how Kise had attacked him during his testimony, emphasizing the need for respect in the courtroom.
The report also highlighted a separate exchange between Kise and two other female lawyers, Greenfield and attorney general counsel Colleen Faherty, during a private discussion with Engoron. The conversation was mostly inaudible, but Faherty reprimanded Kise for his lack of respect, to which he defiantly responded, “No.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance commended Engoron for protecting his clerk, emphasizing that courthouse personnel should not be subjected to abuse. The incident involving Kise and the subsequent reprimand from the judge shed light on the importance of maintaining professionalism and respect in the courtroom.