Trump’s attorneys continued to interrupt the judge during a contentious hearing this week.
The interruptions were so frequent that a clerk had to intervene.
“When the judge is talking, you have to stop talking,” the clerk told Trump lawyer Alina Habba.
A lawyer for former President Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted the judge during a contentious hearing on Thursday and sometimes got so heated that the clerk had to repeatedly remind him not to speak over the judge.
The hearing focused on a series of subpoenas that New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office issued to Trump and his two oldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka. They came as part of a broad investigation into whether the Trump Organization violated banking, tax and insurance laws. Lawyers for the Trump family asked the judge to quash the subpoenas, arguing among other things that the investigation was politically motivated and that James was improperly conducting a civil and criminal investigation.
At one point, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba argued that James’ investigation was “invalid” and tainted with political bias because the attorney general publicly criticized Trump.
“Let me just say it’s obvious, but I’m not the attorneys’ disciplinary committee,” New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said when Habba said the investigation should be closed. “So some of these ethical issues, they’re not, they’re not in front of me. And I tend to say they’re not part of the case, but I don’t totally… “
Habba chimed in, “Your honor, how can you say that? They’re really part of this case. You can’t talk to someone based on your hatred for them. You can’t…”
Then the clerk, Allison Greenfield, interrupted to chastise Habba.
“When the judge is talking, you have to stop talking,” she said.
“I’m sorry,” Habba replied. “I thought he was done. My apologies.”
Elsewhere in the hearing, Habba insisted that Trump had not broken any laws and pointed to the multitude of legal and congressional investigations in recent years into his professional and personal life.
As the judge spoke, Habba interrupted him again to note that “no charges have been brought in all these years.”
The hiatus prompted another recall from Greenfield.
“When the judge talks, you have to stop talking,” she told Habba.
Engoron took the interruption in stride, saying, “I appreciate your vigor, shall I say.”
Habba also spoke directly to Kevin Wallace, an attorney in James’ office during the hearing. This was a violation of legal protocol, since lawyers are not supposed to engage in crosstalk — talking directly to each other — during court hearings.
Wallace ignored Habba’s comments to him, telling Engoron he was “not going to engage in crosstalk, your honor”.
Habba also strayed from the focus of the hearing to spread right-wing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and what Trump alleged was an illegal plot to spy on his campaign and administration.
“I want to know, Mr. Wallace, Mrs. James, are you going to sue Hillary Clinton for what she does to my client?” Habba said, referring to the New York Attorney General and Kevin Wallace, an attorney who represented her at the hearing. “That she spied on Trump Tower in your state? Are you going to investigate his business dealings? »
But Engoron cut off Habba’s discussion of Clinton, saying it was irrelevant.
“The Clintons are not in front of me,” he said.
Engoron ruled after the hearing that Trump and his two children must comply with the subpoenas.
“The target of a hybrid civil/criminal investigation cannot use the Fifth Amendment as both a sword and a shield; a shield against the questions and a sword against the investigation itself,” he wrote. .
“When deposed, Trump’s new respondents will have the right to refuse to answer any question that they believe may incriminate them, and such refusal may not be commented upon or used against them in any criminal prosecution.”
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