In a moment that captured the attention of the nation, Judge Arthur Engoron smiled for the camera as former President Donald Trump lashed out at him during the start of his civil fraud trial in New York City on Monday.
Networks showed scenes from the courtroom with Trump sitting with his lawyers and, a few rows behind them, New York Attorney General Letitia James. She brought the $250 million lawsuit over allegations of business fraud against Trump, members of his family, and the Trump Organization.
A camera scanned the front of the room, and Judge Engoron took notice. He smiled, took off his glasses, and smiled again. Upon looking to the side, the judge shrugged before he returned his gaze to the camera and smiled once more. Trump has lashed out against the charges ahead of his court appearance, slamming Engoron as a “rogue judge.”
The smile made Trump’s defenders furious and others expressed their dismay on social media in reaction to clips of the video.
“I’ve never seen anything more inappropriate in my life,” Jesse Binnall, an attorney for Trump but not in the New York fraud case, said during an appearance on Newsmax.
“A show trial. Literally,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We have a serious crisis in our judicial system. So many demons,” said political commentator Julie Kelly. “The judge in Trump’s case smiles for his closeup. What an absolute clown show,” said the X account for the popular Citizen Free Press website.
“Leftism as an ideology rejects the entire system of objective law upon which Western Civ stands,” said Stephen Miller, a leading adviser in Trump’s White House. “To the Left, there are only allies or enemies. And the more they judge someone the latter, the more they will weaponize the ‘justice’ system against them. This is our brave new world.”
“We’re going to be here for months with a judge that already made up his mind. It’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “He’s a Democrat judge. He’s an operative. And it’s ridiculous, Other than that, things went very well.”
The judge in Trump's case smiles for his closeup. What an absolute clown show. pic.twitter.com/9wwE31Ci5q
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) October 2, 2023
The judge is laughing? Absolutely disgusting! This commie will be overturned! pic.twitter.com/OgkzndxSXz
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) October 2, 2023
Trump speaks during break in trial: "We're going to be here for months with a judge that already made up his mind. It's ridiculous." pic.twitter.com/Gg1jDe8ffr
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) October 2, 2023