Fire at Trump courthouse forces judge to evacuate

 December 15, 2023

Donald Trump's civil fraud trial came to a dramatic conclusion this week when a fire broke out, forcing the judge and others in the courthouse to evacuate. 

A man was arrested and charged with arson for setting some paperwork on fire. Paris Nesbitt, 38, is not a court employee.

The judge, Arthur Engoron, was in his robing room when he heard shouting around 4:15 p.m. He was escorted without incident, but 17 others received minor injuries.

Fire in the courthouse

The courthouse was evacuated hours after testimony in the Trump case concluded Wednesday. Trump was not present.

Police say Nesbitt used a fire extinguisher to douse some paperwork that he set ablaze. He was charged with second-degree attempted arson and reckless endangerment.

"I started the fire, then I put it out," he said.

The fire happened on the fourth floor, where the judge's robing room is located. The courtroom is a floor below.

Dramatic trial wraps up

The trial was marked by moments of drama. At one point, a woman was escorted out and arrested for interrupting the trial.

Trump stopped in court numerous times to denounce the case as a witch hunt - and even swiped at the judge and prosecutor from the witness stand.

The judge had a number of outbursts and slapped Trump with a gag order for disparaging a court clerk who Trump said showed obvious bias.

Attorney General Letitia James (D) wants to fine Trump $250 million and ban him from doing business in New York, his home state and the place where he built his business empire.

Even before the trial began, Engoron accepted James' claim that Trump fraudulently inflated his assets.

But at trial, Trump's defense experts testified that the value of real estate is subjective, and one of his banks confirmed that they saw Trump as good for business.

Trump was expected to return to the stand to testify in his defense this week but backed out.

The judge's final ruling won't come until January, but Trump's lawyers are hopeful that at least part of Engoron's judgment will be overturned on appeal.

Legal experts say the judge may have pushed it too far with his ruling, which dissolved Trump's companies.

“He’s going beyond what the statute seems to allow,” said New York attorney David W. Lowden.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.