Trump’s Mistrial Request Rejected in NY Civil Fraud Case
NEW YORK — A state court judge in New York on Friday rejected former President Donald Trump’s request for a mistrial in his $250 million civil business fraud case.
In dismissing the request to toss the case, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said he could not “in good conscience” grant the request when the arguments made by Trump and his co-defendants in favor of mistrial were “utterly without merit.”
Trump, his sons Eric and Donald Jr., the Trump Organization and a number of its top executives had claimed that the case had been “tainted” by the political bias of Engoron and his principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, and that “only the grant of a mistrial can salvage what is left of the rule of law.”
Specifically, the request for mistrial said the alleged bias was reflected in various rulings Engoron has made, his editing a high school alumni newsletter that linked to articles about the case, and political donations made by Greenfield to Democratic candidates.
Trump lawyers Clifford Robert and Alina Habba said, “[The] evidence of apparent and actual bias is tangible and overwhelming.”
But in his ruling on Friday, Engoron reviewed and rejected each specific allegation of bias, and made clear that he intends to preside over the case until its conclusion.
The lawsuit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accuses the defendants of fraudulently inflating the values of Trump’s real estate properties and other assets for years in order to obtain tax benefits, better loan terms and other financial incentives.
In addition to seeking $250 million in damages, James wants to permanently bar Trump and his two adult sons from running a New York business.
Last summer Engoron found the defendants liable for fraud and ordered the cancellation of their New York business certificates, the latter decision being temporarily put on hold by an appeals court.
The current trial, which is being conducted without a jury, is being held to determine penalties and resolve James’ additional claims of wrongdoing by Trump and his co-defendants.