Get to Know Allison Greenfield, the Law Clerk Making Waves at Trump’s Fraud Trial

Donald Trump and his legal team recently voiced their displeasure with Justice Arthur Engoron’s assistant, Allison Greenfield, a well-versed lawyer who herself once vied to be a judge. Trump’s unrestrained attacks on Greenfield resulted in a flurry of abusive, antisemitic messages and threats, eventually leading to a court-ordered gag. Most attorneys are familiar with the cliche that a good lawyer knows the law, but a great lawyer knows the judge; but how much impact does the law clerk have?

Although generally unseen, law clerks are pillars of the court. They typically remain unseen, and attorneys primarily focus on presenting arguments to influence judges—whose decisions can make or break a lawsuit. However, for Trump’s civil fraud trial, his lawyers focused disproportionately on Allison Greenfield, the judge’s principal law clerk. Trump’s attacks on Greenfield provoked an onslaught of hateful messages and threatening harassment aimed at her, the judge, and his family. A court affidavit documented these threats and harassing messages, spanning 275 single-spaced pages.

37-year-old Greenfield has worked alongside New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron since before Trump’s trial. Engoron presided over an extensive legal debate over subpoenas before being assigned to Trump’s fraud case, filed by Letitia James, New York’s attorney general. Engoron has granted a summary judgment that the Trump Organization was indeed involved in fraud and suggested that it be dissolved, though an appellate court has suspended this decision. Despite the court drama, Greenfield stays mostly silent, occasionally murmuring to the judge during witness testimony and lawyer arguments, causing judges to accuse her of acting as a “co-judge”.

Following a court-ordered gag, Trump violated the order while publicly discrediting both Engoron and Greenfield. This led to a cease in the number of threatening, harassing, and disparaging messages that they were receiving. When an appellate judge lifted the gag order, Trump’s legal team regarded this decision as a victory and proceeded to criticize Greenfield openly to journalists.


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