Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has contested multiple aspects of his New York City business fraud trial, brought forward by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
Trump’s lead attorney, Alina Habba, announced during a Fox News interview over the weekend that she intended to file a motion for a mistrial.
Citing the judge’s gag order refusing to allow Trump to present evidence in court, his statement that “he was not here to hear what Trump had to say,” and James’ making prosecuting Trump a campaign issue, Habba believes the court proceedings have been a mockery of justice.
When pressed for a timetable for filing the motion, Habba said it would come “soon … very soon.” Habba noted the judge’s gag order prevented her from providing additional information but noted there are several potential issues with her motion:
“I can tell you that we will be filing papers to address all of those issues. The problem is, with all of these things, such as filing a motion for recusal, which we have done twice, is that the judge has to be the one that decides — is he going to recuse himself? Does he feel that there was a mistrial?”
Habba added that because there is no jury (“bench trial”), the one judge, Arthur Engoron, who will be named in the complaint, is the one designated to rule on the motion.
Putting pressure on the judge, Habba said, “At this point, I don’t have any reason to believe he shouldn’t after what we have learned, if it’s true,” she said without elaborating.
Trump’s $250 million lawsuit continues on Monday. James contends the former president and his sons falsely inflated the value of their assets to secure investors and favorable lending options.
Trump contends assets were undervalued, did not take into consideration the value of his brand name and that all financial statements contained a disclaimer noting that final valuations were the responsibility of the financial institution doing the lending.
The former president has claimed James and Engoron are exercising criminal-level bias in the case. Notably, Rep. Elise Stefanik has filed an official ethics complaint against Judge Engoron regarding his handling of the case.
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