November 12, 2023

Trump requests immediate end to New York civil fraud trial

As former President Donald Trump continues to juggle criminal cases in multiple state and federal jurisdictions, his attorneys' request to secure an immediate end to his civil fraud trial in New York did not – at least thus far – yield the desired result, as the Associated Press reports.

Though presiding Judge Arthur Engoron did not explicitly rule on the matter, he referenced his expectation that the trial will proceed on schedule in the coming week, with the defense team beginning to introduce its witnesses.

Trump team requests trial's end

Attorneys for the former president asked Engoron to issue a verdict declaring that Trump himself, the Trump Organization, and a number of key executives had committed no wrongdoing of the sort alleged by Attorney General Letitia James.

James' case against Trump includes claims that the former president and other defendants engaged in false inflation of asset values on financial statements, conduct designed to secure favorable terms from banks and insurers.

Engoron, for his part, said on Thursday that the request for a directed verdict would be “taken under advisement,” but made no further reference to the issue when back in court later that same day.

Not all bad news

Despite Engoron's apparent unwillingness to promptly grant Trump's request, he did offer the defense team a bit of a win in terms of the evidence he will permit lawyers to introduce on their client's behalf.

The sometimes-controversial jurist said that Trump's legal team would be allowed to call a series of expert witnesses to the stand to counter prior testimony regarding the possible motivation for representations contained in the financial statements at issue.

In doing so, Engoron seemed to reveal his plans to see the trial through to its natural end, stating that closing arguments are likely to occur in mid-to-late December.

Trump team remains resolute

Despite the small silver lining from Engoron last week, Trump's attorneys are holding firm to the position that lawyers for the state of New York had not met “any legal standard” needed to establish the elements of conspiracy, falsifying business records, or insurance fraud.

Lawyer Christopher Kise declared in arguments before Engoron, “There's no victim. There's no complainant, There's no injury. All of the is established now by the evidence.”

Pointing to what he – and the former president – believe was the political impetus that prompted James to pursue this case in the first place, Kise accused the AG of attempting to “substitute her judgment for that of the banks and, frankly, for that of someone who has been involved in the real estate industry for 50 years.”

Trump, for his part, expressed his take on the situation via Truth Social, writing on Friday, “Judge Engoron should end this ridiculous Political Witch Hunt against me. I have TOTALLY WON THIS CASE, which should never have been brought.”

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