In a significant legal development, New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has once again dismissed a request from the legal team of former President Donald Trump, who sought a directed verdict in an ongoing business fraud case in New York City.
This case, involving a staggering $250 million lawsuit, targets not only Trump but also his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, along with The Trump Organization. The lawsuit alleges the defendants inflated Trump's net worth for their financial advantage.
Justice Engoron's firm stance comes after a partial summary judgment issued in September, where he determined that Trump and his associates misrepresented the value of his assets in financial records. Despite these developments, Trump has consistently refuted all allegations made by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
His defense attorneys have persistently lobbied for a directed verdict, asserting a lack of evidence implicating the former president or his co-defendants in any wrongdoing.
Engoron Denies Trump Plea
During a recent court session, when Trump's defense team made their fifth request for a directed verdict, Justice Engoron firmly responded, "There's no way I'm going to grant that, but [you can] send me something." This response highlights the ongoing legal tussle between the defense and the court.
Law360 court reporter Stewart Bishop revealed that Trump's defense lawyer, Chris Kise, justified the request for a directed verdict by arguing the absence of any evidence of fraud, victims, or damage during the trial. However, Justice Engoron has previously countered these requests by indicating the substantial evidence of Trump's alleged misdeeds.
In a strong rebuttal, state attorney Kevin Wallace criticized the defense’s repetitive requests as a "colossal waste of resources," emphasizing the abundance of material already submitted on the matter. Kise, while concluding the defense's arguments, mentioned addressing several "housekeeping items" for potential appellate purposes, a statement that elicited laughter from Justice Engoron.
As the case progresses, prosecutors have brought forward numerous witnesses, including Trump himself, his two eldest sons, and his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump. Trump, scheduled to testify again, opted not to do so this week, a decision some experts deem strategic.
Adding to the complexity, Trump expressed his frustration on Truth Social, criticizing the gag order imposed on him and labeling the trial as "rigged." He emphasized his constitutional right to defend himself was being undermined.
This high-profile case continues to draw significant attention, underscoring the intricate legal battles faced by the former president and his business empire. As developments unfold, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on the outcome of this landmark lawsuit.