In the ongoing civil trial against former President Donald Trump in New York, Judge Arthur Engoron has once again criticized the ex-president, rejecting Trump’s appeal for a directed ruling in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The accusations involve Trump allegedly inflating the value of his properties and assets in financial statements.
Expected to decide on the severity of punishment in late January or early February, Judge Engoron has already ruled that Trump committed fraud in his financial statements. Despite the allegations, Trump, a leader in the Republican presidential primary, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the investigation as a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his 2024 campaign.
Potential consequences for Trump include hefty fines, property seizures, or being barred from conducting business in New York State, according to Newsweek. Judge Engoron disagreed with Trump’s plea for a favorable court ruling and pointed out “fatal flaws” in his defense, including criticisms of the testimony provided by Eli Bartov, a research professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, who received significant compensation for his defense of Trump.
Engoron accused Bartov of lacking credibility and stated that the professor seemed willing to say whatever was necessary for a substantial fee. The judge also criticized the former president’s legal team for what he perceived as courtroom theatrics, emphasizing that the trial was a bench trial without a jury.
During previous court sessions, Judge Engoron exhibited frustration with Trump’s legal team, expressing annoyance at technical questioning and accusing them of wasting time. The judge emphasized the need to streamline proceedings and questioned the tactics employed, suggesting they were aimed at influencing a jury or the media, which he noted were irrelevant in a bench trial.
After more than 10 weeks of heated exchanges, the civil trial concluded on December 13, with closing arguments scheduled for early January in New York. The trial revolves around allegations of fraudulent financial statements, with Judge Engoron holding the key to determining Trump’s fate in this legal battle.