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Former President Donald Trump raged at New York Judge Arthur Engoron in a series of posts on his Truth Social platform over the weekend after his trial wrapped up and he awaited a ruling on whether he would be held financially liable for defrauding the state.
Engoron has already found Trump liable for overvaluing his business and personal properties to get more favorable bank loans and insurance rates.
Now, Engoron must decide whether to grant New York Attorney General Letitia James’ request that Trump be fined as much as $370 million and permanently barred from doing business in the state, up from a pretrial figure of $250 million.
Trump, along with other defendants such as his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, vehemently denies any wrongdoing. The former president, who is the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, consistently characterizes the case as a politically motivated witch hunt orchestrated by James and other Democrats. He contends that the legal challenges are intended to hinder his prospects of reclaiming the White House. Trump is also facing four other criminal cases.
He wrote in all caps:
IF JUDGE ENGORON IS ALLOWED TO DISREGARD THE COMPLETE APPELLATE DIVISION VICTORY THAT WE HAD IN JUNE, THEN THE RULE OF LAW IN NEW YORK STATE, AND INDEED OUR COUNTRY, WILL NEVER RECOVER. THE JUDGE HAS SO DISRESPECTED THE COURT OF APPEALS, IN THAT HE CONSIDERS THIS BIGGEST OF ALL LEGAL EVENTS TO HAVE NEVER HAPPENED, THAT NEW YORK STATE, AND OUR NATION AS A WHOLE, CANNOT ALLOW THIS TERRIBLE WRONGDOING TO TAKE PLACE. THIS IS LAWLESSNESS BY A JUDGE THE LIKES OF WHICH OUR COUNTRY HAS NEVER SEEN BEFORE. A VICTORY IS A VICTORY! LET IT BE. FIGHT VIOLENCE ON N.Y. STREETS, AND STOP THE MASS EXODUS OF OUR PEOPLE, OUR BUSINESSES, & OUR WEALTH OUT OF OUR ONCE GREAT STATE, & INTO OTHER, FAR MORE HOSPITABLE ONES. MAKE NEW YORK STATE GREAT AGAIN!
Newsweek added: “Trump has said his financial statements actually underestimated the value of his properties, and that any overestimations were mistakes that made little difference to the overall picture of his wealth. He argued that disclaimers on the statements insulated him from liability for discrepancies or misstatements.”
A leading legal expert cautioned the judge presiding over Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial in Manhattan, warning that his demeanor with the former president in court could come back to haunt him.
Attorney Michael Conway, who is a former House Judiciary Committee counsel, chided Judge Arthur Engoron over his language and behavior, citing in a column for MSNBC the trial of the so-called “Chicago 7,” as he reminded the judge “that the defendants in the notorious case went out of their way to antagonize Judge Julius Hoffman, which seems to be Donald Trump’s strategy in a case where Engoron has already found evidence of fraud.”
Conway further highlighted that during witness testimony, Engoron often clashed with both Trump’s legal team and the former president himself. Additionally, Conway mentioned that the use of profanity by Engoron is likely to become a focal point in any future appeal.
“In New York, Engoron has used strident language in rejecting Trump’s legal positions, terming them ‘pure sophistry,’ ‘risible,’ ‘bogus arguments,’ and ‘egregious’ in his summary judgment opinion. He sanctioned five Trump attorneys for $7,500 each for the ‘borderline frivolous’ arguments in their briefs,” Conway said in his column.
“Harsh language isn’t a problem if it’s justified. But the more Engoron pushes the envelope, the more he risks an appellate court disagreeing with his assessment. And Trump’s lawyers can and will argue the judge’s rhetoric is evidence of judicial bias,” Conway wrote.
The legal expert then added that “there are other examples of Engoron seemingly overreacting in response to relentless complaining from Trump’s lawyers” before noting: “He needs to take all necessary steps to ensure that a New York appellate court cannot overturn his decision. And that means not reacting to Trump’s hate-filled speech or to his lawyers’ baiting and provocation. It’s simply not worth it.”
Outside the courtroom where his fraud trial is being held, Trump ranted about Engoron, ignoring questions about his recent “dictator” remarks and the latest GOP presidential debate.
In the fraud case that New York Attorney General Letitia James brought, Trump has made multiple appearances, and he has taken numerous opportunities to address reporters between proceedings.
Trump was in court on Thursday morning, and reporters pounded him with questions regarding the candidates “taking shots” at him during the debate on Wednesday night and his recent pledge to be a “dictator” on “day one”—but Trump had different plans.
A reporter asked Trump, “What’s your reaction to the governors taking shots at you yesterday? The president did well yesterday. What is your reaction to the governor?”
“Thank you very much. Everybody is. This is a witch hunt, the likes of which probably nobody has ever seen. And you have people being murdered outside all over the streets. They’re being murdered. This violent crime, and this attorney general is crazy. She’s a lunatic. The attorney general. Sincere because she knows that she has a judge in the matter. With all the evidence that you have, that judge is going to rule in their favor. He ruled against me before the case even started. The case had started. He knew nothing, and he ruled against me,” Trump declared.
“The other thing is, this is an oral argument. I’m sure it was what was good for her case. And the value of $18 million when, in fact, it’s worth anywhere from 50 to 100 times that amount. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it. But just remember what I said at the beginning. We won at the appellate division, and this judge refuses to honor that victory or that decision for that demand. Thank you very much,” Trump added.
Engoron has already ruled that Trump is guilty of defrauding banks by over-valuing his properties to get favorable loans. The current trial is to assess damages, if any.
Bank officials have testified on Trump’s behalf during the trial, saying they were not financially harmed during their business relationship.