Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, October 3, faced a dramatic turn of events during the second day of his civil business fraud trial in a New York court.
According to a report by FOX24, Judge Arthur Engoron clarified a comment that Trump had initially touted as a significant victory, effectively altering the course of the proceedings.
The pivotal issue centered around testimony regarding Trump’s 2011 financial statement.
Engoron had previously suggested that this testimony might be beyond the legal time limit applicable to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges chronic deception by Trump and his business regarding his wealth on financial statements submitted to various financial entities.
Trump’s legal team argued that the relevant statute of limitations essentially nullifies most of the case, as it excludes claims related to activities before a specified date in 2014.
However, Judge Engoron emphatically stated on Tuesday, “statutes of limitations bar claims, not evidence,” underscoring his determination to allow both sides ample leeway in connecting older evidence to the claims in the lawsuit.
Emphasizing that the trial is not an opportunity to re-litigate previous decisions, Engoron affirmed his earlier ruling that all the claims were admissible under the statute of limitations.
During the trial, a lawyer from James’ office, Kevin Wallace, indicated that the 2011 financial document was crucial in demonstrating that Trump’s financial statements were consistently prepared with a strong bias, allowing Trump and his company the final say over valuations for at least a decade.
Testifying at the trial, Donald Bender, an accountant responsible for preparing these financial statements for years, revealed that Trump’s company provided the numbers for the documents, with each spreadsheet explicitly marked as “PBC,” signifying they were “prepared by the client.”
In response to the day’s developments, Trump, who maintains his innocence, expressed confidence in the trial’s progress, highlighting that the financial statements contained disclaimers asserting they were not audited.
He argued that different conclusions might be reached about his financial position with more comprehensive information.
This trial is significant not only for Trump but also for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who seeks $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump conducting business in New York.
The judge has already ruled that some of Trump’s companies should face dissolution as part of the punishment.
The trial continues, with Trump planning to testify later. As the proceedings unfold, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on this high-stakes legal battle.