Trump Seeks Mistrial In Civil Fraud Case in New York
Former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants have requested a mistrial in his New York non-jury civil fraud case, alleging that the appearance of bias from the judge and his principal law clerk has tainted the trial. In a filing on Wednesday, Trump's attorneys claimed that evidence of both apparent and actual bias was "tangible and overwhelming."
The trial, which stems from a New York attorney general's investigation into Trump's business practices, centers on accusations that Trump and his company lied about property valuations in order to secure favorable loan terms and other illegal advantages. Attorney General Letitia James, who campaigned on prosecuting Trump, is seeking $250 million in damages and restrictions on Trump's ability to do business in New York.
Trump's legal team has taken issue with Judge Arthur Engoron's involvement in the trial, pointing to a Wheatley School alumni page that Engoron appears to run. The judge allegedly made posts on this page about the case and individuals involved, including Trump, his son Eric, and his attorney Alina Habba. Trump's attorneys argue that Engoron's actions violate a New York code that prohibits judges from making public comments about pending or impending proceedings.
Happening Now: Lawyers for Donald Trump have filed paperwork to declare a mistrial with the New York Supreme Court after clear bias from Judge Arthur Engoron.
“Such evidence, coupled with an unprecedented departure from standard judicial procedure, has tainted these… pic.twitter.com/7g9gRbiaKf
— Travis (@Travis_in_Flint) November 15, 2023
The filing also raised concerns about Engoron's principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, citing her "unprecedented role in the trial and extensive, public partisan activities." The defense claims that this evidence, paired with "an unprecedented departure from standard judicial procedure," has tainted the proceedings and warrants a mistrial.
A spokesperson for the New York attorney general's office has dismissed Trump's request for a mistrial, calling it an effort to "dismiss the truth and the facts."Referring to Trump's alleged fraud, the spokesperson stated that "the numbers and evidence don't lie" and that "the truth always comes out."
Judge Engoron has already ruled that Trump is liable for "persistent fraud" after the OAG presented evidence that he had prepared, certified, and submitted false and misleading financial statements to lenders. Engoron also issued a gag order against Trump last month, prohibiting him from making public statements about Engoron's principal law clerk. Trump has violated this order twice, resulting in $15,000 in fines.
Engoron, a Democrat, did not rule on the request for a mistrial on Wednesday, giving the New York attorney general time to decide whether or not to respond. State attorney Kevin Wallace requested until the following day to make a decision.
In a statement before entering the courthouse last week, Trump condemned the trial as "political warfare" and "political law-fare" that is typically seen in "third-world countries and banana republics." He expressed frustration with what he sees as a biased judicial process.