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A Stenographer’s Union is Fighting His Removal From Trump’s

A senior court stenographer for the New York Supreme Court was precluded from participating in the Manhattan case against former President Donald Trump, and his union is arguing it’s because he told the news he was a registered Republican.

The dispute was revealed in a petition filed by The New York State Unified Court System on Monday, viewed by Business Insider.

Randy Berkowitz was assigned to work Trump’s arraignment on April 4, where the former president pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts. The charges are in connection to a $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Following the hearing, Berkowitz stood up to shake Trump’s hand, CNN noted. He later detailed meeting the former president in an interview.

“I just gave him my card, shook his hand and introduced myself,” Berkowitz told Long Island outlet Newsday. “Even though he is a former president, I’m not people-shy, so it doesn’t bother me getting up and doing it. … Him in particular, just shaking his hand, and knowing that you’re shaking a former president’s hand, it was a pretty awesome experience.”

Later in the article, Newsday noted that Berkowitz did not want to speak specifically about his political opinions on Trump. Still, Berkowitz noted he was “registered as a Republican.”

As a result of the interview, Berkowitz was removed as a stenographer for the Trump case and reassigned to a different case, per court documents.

The court system said it took issue with Berkowitz telling Newsday that he “just wanted Trump in particular to feel comfortable,” per the complaint filed Monday.

Following his removal, the Association of Surrogates and Supreme Court Reporters within the City of New York — the union that represents Berkowitz — filed a grievance arguing that his exclusion from Trump’s case stemmed from the fact that he was a Republican. Removing him from the case, they said, violated the Constitution and the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

Source: Businessinsider