This could be great for Trump.
One of Donald Trump’s lawyers has stated that their legal team will seek the dismissal of the $250 million civil-fraud case against him, asserting that it should be declared a mistrial due to perceived bias against the former president. During an interview with Larry Kudlow on Fox Business, Alina Habba criticized Judge Arthur Engoron for preventing Trump from testifying freely when he was on the witness stand on Monday. Habba mentioned that their motion would include claims related to a court clerk who is subject to a gag order.
According to Newsweek, the case involves allegations of falsifying business records, insurance fraud, and conspiracy against Trump and several of his associates. They are accused of inflating property values and exaggerating Trump’s net worth to secure loans and business deals. Trump and his associates have pleaded not guilty and vehemently deny any wrongdoing, with Trump characterizing the case as a politically motivated attack on his candidacy for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
Habba stated, “We will move to have this case completely dismissed, as it should be declared a mistrial based on the issues you mentioned today, which I cannot discuss.” Kudlow, the former director of the National Economic Council under Trump, brought up the court clerk during the conversation. Newsweek reached out to the clerk for Engoron and the New York attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, for comments on Tuesday.
Habba added, “There should be a mistrial here, and regarding bias in general, there is a judicial code of ethics that applies to the entire courtroom. When the rules of judicial ethics are violated, there should be accountability.”
The outcome of the $250 million lawsuit could potentially lead to Trump and his business empire being barred from conducting business in New York, and Trump might be required to forfeit some of his properties both within and outside the state.
In late September, Engoron issued a pre-trial ruling that some of Trump’s business licenses in New York should be revoked. He ordered that the companies owning certain properties be placed under independent receivership, a rarely used legal action.
During Trump’s 3½-hour-long testimony, he frequently veered off-topic, often criticizing Letitia James, the New York Attorney General, and the prosecution. Trump accused the prosecution of trying to discredit him, likely for political reasons, and referred to James as a fraud and a political opportunist seeking to become the governor of New York through the case.
Trump also expressed his belief that Engoron had preconceived notions of his guilt, stating, “He ruled against me and called me a fraud before he even knew anything about me.” Engoron, at times, displayed frustration with the former president, emphasizing, “I don’t want to hear everything this witness has to say. He has a lot to say that has nothing to do with the case or the questions.”
At one point, Engoron implored one of Trump’s attorneys to control the former president, warning, “I beseech you to control him if you can. If you can’t, I will.”
At the beginning of October, Engoron imposed a gag order on Trump and his legal team, prohibiting them from discussing court personnel publicly. This action followed Trump’s insinuation that a court clerk, Allison Greenfield, had a romantic involvement with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Engoron fined Trump $15,000 for violating the gag order, citing concerns for the court clerk’s safety due to the claims.