Judge Arthur Engoron admonished Donald Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise at the end of the day Thursday after Kise made an offhand comment about the conduct of Engoron’s clerk.
The trial devolved into tense arguments over defense objections to assistant attorney general Andrew Amer’s attack on Eric Trump’s credibility, when he reminded the court that Eric Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in an investigatory interview years ago in this case.
Trump’s legal team accused Amer of seeking headlines by bringing up the interview that was years ago. They reminded the court that Eric Trump did not invoke his Fifth Amendment during his deposition taken in March.
After the objection, Kise made a comment that angered the judge but was inaudible in much of the courtroom. Engoron warned Kise about making comments about his clerk, reminding him that had already put a gag order barring public comment about his staff and suggesting that further commentary would prompt him to extend it to the lawyers as well.
Engoron said there could be “a bit of misogyny” in the continued criticism of his female law clerk.
Kise responded that the objections he was making were relevant to the case, and he was allowed to raise concerns about the process of the trial.
“I’m not a misogynist. I’m very happily married, and I have a 17-year-old daughter. I reject that squarely,” Kise said.
Kise said it appeared there was sometimes “co-judging” taking place, noting that someone was handing him information on a frequent basis. “Yesterday we counted 30, 40 times,” he said.
Another Trump attorney, Alina Habba, then stood to defend Kise, saying he was not misogynistic. “I have the same frankly issues with the person sitting on the bench,” she said. “It’s distracting, and it is insulting.”
Engoron said he has a right to seek counsel from his clerk and Trump’s legal team has no right to know what they are.
“She’s a civil servant, she’s doing what I ask her to do.” Those notes are “confidential communications from my law clerk,” Engoron said, now pounding on the bench.
Eric Trump, still on the witness stand during the exchange, appeared visibly uncomfortable, looking away as Kise and Engoron argued.