The legal team representing former President Donald Trump in his civil fraud trial in Manhattan plans to ask the judge presiding over the case for a quick ruling.
Trump’s attorneys are planning to ask Judge Arthur Engoron for a ruling on Thursday, claiming that New York Attorney General Letitia James didn’t prove her case.
James filed a $250 million lawsuit, claiming that Trump and his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, defrauded banks, financial institutions, and insurers to get better loan rates and business conditions. She also seeks to bar them from doing any business in New York.
Trump attorney Alina Habba said Wednesday that James’ team failed to make their case before resting and that Trump’s lawyers “would leverage the mechanism, which allows defense attorneys to seek a victory in the case if the other side fails to prove their case under a preponderance burden — meaning the evidence shows that claims in a lawsuit are more likely true than not,” the Washington Times reported.
“The attorney general rested their case, and it’s very clear that they have failed to prove the essential elements of the case,” Habba told reporters.
James and her team rested their case after questioning Ivanka Trump, who was not part of the case but was ordered to testify by Engoron, earlier this week. She testified that she was never part of the business valuation process and that in any event, it was difficult to recall particulars from more than a decade ago.
Before the trial, Engoron ruled in favor of James on one fraud claim. The trial examined other claims as well as potential penalties.
“The judge has already ruled that Donald Trump committed repeated and persistent fraud, and now it’s Trump‘s turn to try to defend that fraud,” James told reporters on Wednesday. I am confident that we will prevail because the facts don’t lie.”
But Habba countered that anyone who’s been following the trial can easily see the prosecution’s faults. They include inconsistent testimony from ‘star’ witness Michael Cohen, who was once Trump’s fixer-lawyer, adding that he should be investigated for allegedly perjuring himself on the stand.
“He’s been inconsistent, it’s been proven, and frankly, he needs to be prosecuted for it,” Habba said. “They relied on Michael Cohen. I don’t care what side of the fence you are on in politics. You can’t rely on Michael Cohen.”
Last week, the trial got off to another chaotic start ahead of testimony from Eric Trump. The Western Journal reported that an attorney for the former president set the contentious tone of the proceeding from the outset when he focused on perceived bias from the bench.
On Thursday, Breitbart News reported that Manhattan Superior Court clerk Allison Greenfield had made political donations to Democratic candidates, while The New York Times added that Judge Arthur Engoron has been passing notes back and forth with Greenfield during the trial, leading Trump attorney Christopher Kise to argue that created the “perception of bias” in the trial.
The Breitbart report said Greenfield “appears to have violated judicial rules preventing officers of the court from making excessive political donations.”
Breitbart noted that Kise informed the court that “the defense will have to give serious consideration to seeking a mistrial,” leading Engoron to respond that he was “worried about this,” according to The Daily Beast.
“To the extent that there is the perception of bias,” Kise said, he had an obligation “as a lawyer … at least mark it.”
Engoron “promised not to pound the table again, the bench,” but added that he had an “unfettered right to get assistance” from Greenfield, who is seated next to him in court. He added that he had “no idea” how that could indicate bias.
“You can say whatever you want about me. And that has been taken advantage of. I think that’s where there would be any appearance of bias, but I cut this case right down the middle,” said Engoron, who is a Democrat.