An X account promoted by Donald Trump claims the New York judge overseeing the former US president's civil fraud trial was drinking from a Tanqueray gin bottle in court. This is false; footage shows the container was a water bottle.
"Hobo Judge with the Tanqueray on the bench," says an October 2, 2023 post on X, formerly known as Twitter, with a photo of presiding Judge Arthur Engoron.
Another post includes an image of what appears to be an NBC News segment with text in the lower third saying: "WHAT'S IN JUSTICE ENGORON'S BOTTLE?"
The posts come from Judicial Protest, an account with fewer than 600 followers that drew attention after Trump shared one of its posts targeting Engoron's clerk. The judge, who is hearing the fraud case involving Trump's real estate empire, imposed a limited gag order on the former president over the since-deleted Truth Social attack.
Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his two eldest sons committed fraud by inflating the value of the real estate and financial assets of the Trump Organization for years. New York Attorney General Letitia James is now seeking $250 million in penalties and the removal of Trump and his sons from management of the family empire.
The trial began October 2, but the posts accusing Engoron of keeping a bottle of gin on the bench are false.
"Without endorsing a particular product, the judge, as he always does, has a bottle of water that he drinks from when court is in session," Lucian Chalfen, director of public information for the New York State Office of Court Administration, told AFP in an October 4 email.
The shot of the judge comes from footage taken by a journalist inside the courtroom and shared with AFP.
The full clip shows the bottle beside Engoron more clearly than the still image.
Both products have green glass, but Tanqueray has a larger cap and red seal positioned near the neck of the bottle.
An older video that Judicial Protest similarly misrepresented also appears to show Engoron drinking Mountain Valley Spring Water.
AFP contacted NBC News for comment, but no response was forthcoming.