Arthur F. Engoron, the presiding judge over Donald J. Trump’s civil fraud trial, is a seasoned jurist with two decades of service in New York City Civil and State Supreme Court. This 74-year-old judge, known for his distinctive shock of white hair and penchant for injecting humor into courtroom proceedings, is set to play a pivotal role in determining the fate of Mr. Trump’s New York businesses, a significant part of his real estate empire.

The case is being heard as a bench trial, meaning that there will be no jury involved. Instead, Justice Engoron, a Democrat, is tasked with both applying the law and determining the facts, a role typically reserved for a jury in a trial. As a result, his influence on the proceedings and the ultimate outcome is substantial, barring any overturning of his decisions on appeal.

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Before the trial commenced, Justice Engoron issued a critical ruling that could have far-reaching implications for Mr. Trump and his family business. He found that the former president had consistently engaged in fraud by inflating the value of his assets by billions of dollars. This ruling could potentially lead to the loss of control over key New York properties, including Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street.

Who is Arthur Engoron?

Justice Engoron has been involved in this case for three years, mediating disputes over evidence during the state attorney general Letitia James’ civil investigation into Mr. Trump’s business practices. Subsequently, when James filed the resulting lawsuit a year ago, Justice Engoron presided over the pretrial litigation and made key decisions.

While Justice Engoron’s courtroom demeanor has often been jovial, marked by teasing lawyers and occasional comic interludes, the proceedings have grown increasingly contentious. He previously held Mr. Trump in contempt and fined him $110,000. Mr. Trump also unsuccessfully attempted to have Justice Engoron removed from the case. Recently, in a social media post, the former president referred to the judge as “deranged.”

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Due to threats, Justice Engoron now receives security escort to and from the courthouse. Despite these challenges, he continues to maintain his sense of humor. He enjoys pop culture references and wordplay, even quoting the Marx Brothers movie “Duck Soup” in a footnote to emphasize his position on certain defense arguments during the trial.