Judge in Trump Civil Fraud Trial Targeted in Swatting Incident

It came hours after Trump called him a “TRUMP HATING JUDGE” in a Truth Social post.

Judge Arthur Engoron was the target of a swatting incident Thursday, hours before the closing arguments in Donald Trump's civil fraud trial. Jeenah Moon/EFE via ZUMA

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Another judge overseeing a trial involving Donald Trump was the target of a swatting call Thursday morning, according to police and a court spokesperson. The timing of the incident came shortly after the ex-president disparaged Judge Arthur Engoron on social media and just hours before Trump is due to appear before Engoron for closing arguments in his $370 million civil fraud trial.

“We are aware of a threat against Justice Engoron,” Al Baker, director of communications for the New York State Unified Court System, told Mother Jones, directing further questions to the Nassau County Police Department. 

A police spokesperson said that they received a call from a press outlet about an email the outlet had received threatening a residence in Great Neck—the area of Long Island where Engoron lives, according to public records—at around 5:30 a.m. Thursday. Police would not confirm to Mother Jones whether the threat targeted the residence of Engoron, the contents of the email, or which outlet had received it. (CNBC reported that the threat was sent to a Long Island newspaper.) The police spokesperson characterized it as a “swatting” incident, which involves making a false report of an emergency in order to prompt a large police response.

Authorities responded to the residence and found that the report was unfounded, according to the spokesperson, who added that the police department may release additional information about the incident later Thursday. 

The threat to Engoron is not expected to affect Thursday’s proceedings, which were slated to start at 10 a.m. EST, according to Baker, the court spokesperson, who added that the court had additional layers of security in place today “out of an abundance of caution” following the threat. 

The threat came about 12 hours after Trump railed against Engoron in a post on Truth Social, calling him a “TRUMP HATING JUDGE” working with Attorney General Letitia James “TO ‘SCREW ME,'” adding that Engoron is presiding over a “RIGGED AND UNFAIR TRIAL.”

Thursday’s incident comes amid a sharp rise in swatting calls targeting political figures and judges with key roles in Trump-related trials. On Sunday, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump’s election interference case in DC, was the victim of a “swatting” incident after a false report of a shooting at Chutkan’s residence was called into the Metropolitan Police Department, according to reports. Special Counsel Jack Smith was also reportedly the target of a swatting incident on Christmas Day.

As my colleague Russ Choma has reported, Trump has publicly sparred with Engoron throughout the months-long trial, including during courtroom appearances. Trump has also repeatedly attacked Engoron’s clerk with falsehoods.

When he posted his attack on Engoron to Truth Social last night, Trump also linked to a series of testy emails between his lawyers and Engoron arguing over rules for today’s closing arguments. Trump’s legal team opposed the set of restrictions, arguing that they barred Trump from publicly speaking about “the thing that must be spoken about.” Engoron, according to the emails, appeared frustrated by the pushback. “I won’t debate this yet again. Take it or leave it. Now or never,” he wrote.

When the Trump team failed to respond, Engoron took their silence as an answer, writing he assumed that Trump “will not be speaking in court tomorrow.”

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