Arthur Engoron, a distinguished judge from New York City, has led a life full of diverse experiences – from driving a taxi cab and playing in a band to protesting the Vietnam War. Over the course of his two-decade career on the bench, Judge Engoron has handled a wide range of cases, from zoning disputes to custody battles over pets. However, Engoron’s most prominent case to date involves none other than former President Donald Trump and the future of his real estate empire.
Engoron’s Judgement on Trump’s Financial Fraud
In a landmark decision, Judge Engoron found Donald Trump guilty of financial fraud, concluding that Trump had exaggerated his wealth and asset values on financial documents to secure loans and business deals.
Consequences for Trump
As a consequence, the judge ruled that some of Trump’s companies would be dissolved, potentially leading to the loss of control over iconic New York properties like Trump Tower.
This decision marked a significant blow to the former president’s real estate empire and drew fierce criticism from Trump himself, who called it “the corporate death penalty.”
Following his ruling on Trump’s financial fraud, Judge Engoron continues to preside over the New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against Trump, his company, and top executives.
The lawsuit seeks $250 million in monetary damages and he trial will proceed as a bench trial, where the judge will make decisions based on the evidence presented, without a jury.
Donald Trump, never one to shy away from expressing his opinions, attacked Judge Engoron, labeling him a “political hack.”
Trump’s strong reactions have raised the possibility of him testifying in court, potentially facing off with Judge Engoron.
Engoron, in contrast, has maintained a dignified silence in response to Trump’s criticisms, abiding by the ethical obligation of judges not to comment on cases they preside over.
Engoron’s Background and Early Life
Arthur Engoron’s journey to the bench began in Queens, New York, where he spent his formative years, not far from Trump’s childhood home.
He later moved to East Williston on Long Island, where he attended The Wheatley School, graduating in 1967. Engoron remains deeply connected to his alma mater, serving as the founder and director of the school’s alumni association.
Engoron’s Early Activism
Engoron’s early years were marked by activism, including participation in Vietnam War protests. He developed a passion for civil liberties and has been a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since 1994.
Engoron pursued a law degree at New York University, receiving it in 1979. His legal career includes work as a litigator, a law clerk for a judge in the same court where he now presides, and teaching music.
Engoron’s Career on the Bench
Judge Engoron joined the New York City Civil Court in 2003 and later became an acting justice of the state’s trial court in 2013.
He ran unopposed for a permanent post in 2015. However, New York law requires judges at his level to retire at age 76, meaning that his term will conclude in 2029.
Engoron’s Unique Style
Known for his wit, one of the distinctive aspects of Judge Engoron’s judicial career is his use of humor, song lyrics, movie quotes, and references to New York City history in his rulings.
A Touch of Humor
Engoron once used the Frank Sinatra “Love and Marriage” to make a point about protests involving horse-drawn carriages in Central Park.
His rulings often carry a touch of humor, even in the most serious of cases.
Trump’s Love Fest
In his ongoing case with Trump, there was a rare moment of agreement between Trump’s lawyers and the prosecutors to which Engoron responded, “I knew this case would be a love fest.”
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