Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing Trump trial, evacuated as individual sets fire in courthouse

The judge overseeing the civil fraud trial involving former President Donald Trump in Manhattan had to be evacuated from the courthouse on Wednesday. An unidentified individual set documents on fire inside the New York State Supreme Court building earlier in the day.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who presided over Trump’s fraud case, was among those safely evacuated after the person ignited papers and deployed a fire extinguisher. The incident, involving a suspect now in custody, is under investigation.

Firefighters responded to an alarm on the fourth floor after the trial’s conclusion, and it appears the arsonist, a non-court employee, started the fire near the empty courtroom where the trial took place, also triggering multiple fire extinguishers.

Judge Engoron, in his robing room, heard floor commotion followed by an evacuation of himself and others from the courthouse. The motive behind the suspect setting paperwork on fire is not immediately known, and no injuries were reported.

The fire added an unusual conclusion to the testimony phase of the trial where President Trump is accused of inflating his net worth for better loan terms. Trump has dismissed the case as a “scam” and a “witch hunt” to hinder his 2024 presidential comeback bid. A verdict is anticipated in January after Judge Engoron considers closing arguments.