In a scathing rebuttal of the former president’s defense and dismissing the Republican’s latest attempt to have the case decided in his favor, the judge ruling over Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial delivered a strong critique.
For the fifth time, Judge Arthur Engoron has denied former President Trump’s request for a directed ruling to clear him of any wrongdoing in the case where he is accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of fraudulently inflating the value of his properties and assets in financial statements.
Engoron ruled Donald Trump
committed fraud, will decide punishment in late January or early February. Trump denies wrongdoing, calls it politically motivated “witch hunt” to stop him from winning 2024 election.
Trump could potentially face a ban on conducting business in New York state, lose control of his properties, or be obligated to pay a significant fine amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
While rejecting Trump’s argument to rule in his favor, Engorn highlighted some of the “fatal flaws” in the former president’s defense, including the testimony from one of their expert witnesses in the trial, New York University Stern School of Business research professor Eli Bartov.
While testifying, Bartov stated in the New York court that there is absolutely no evidence of fraud by Trump or his family in their financial statements. It was subsequently disclosed that Bartov received a staggering $1,350 per hour for his expert testimony in support of the former president, totaling an impressive $877,500.
Engoron said Trump and his legal team were wrong to assume that the court would accept Bertov’s testimony as “true and accurate,” adding: “Bartov is a tenured professor, but there are doubts about the credibility of his testimony due to the potential influence of monetary incentives, as some experts may be willing to provide desired statements in exchange for a substantial sum.
Engoron stated that Bartov had completely lost his credibility by persistently trying to justify every false statement made by the former president during his testimony.
Trump took to Truth Social to express his strong disapproval towards Engoron, accusing him of ridiculing and criticizing Bartov for daring to speak the truth in the judge’s recent ruling.
“The Judge’s refusal to listen to the Expert Witness is a disgraceful insult to someone of such high character and qualifications,” Trump wrote. “The Judge is blatantly disregarding the law!”
Engoron also refuted one of the central arguments from Trump that valuations on his properties such as Mar-a-Lago, his triplex apartment at Trump Tower in Manhattan, or his golf courses are subjective, or that their value is based on what people are willing to pay, as a “lie is still a lie.”
“The judge stated that considering occupied residences as if they were vacant, evaluating restricted land as if it were unrestricted, assessing an apartment as three times its actual size, appraising property that far exceeds concealed appraisals, valuing planned buildings as if they were already finished and available for rent, appraising golf courses with inflated brand premiums while denying it, and regarding restricted funds as cash are not merely matters of different opinions, but rather instances of misrepresentation at the very least, and potentially fraudulent behavior at worst.”
Engoron further stated that Trump and his legal team’s relentless attempts to dismiss the case, despite the overwhelming evidence against the former president, exemplify nothing short of frivolity.
According to Newsweek, Trump attorney Chris Kise stated that Engoron’s ruling is a “total failure” to address the legal aspects of the claims and a “dismissal of the actual facts from the real participants in the real world.”
According to Kisa, it seems that the decision completely disregards the Attorney General’s burden of proof, the testimony provided by the involved bankers, the application of governing accounting standards, the clear language used in the financial statements, and the ruling from the First Department. It appears that the only thing that matters is reaching a predetermined outcome.
The civil trial’s testimonies wrapped up on December 13 after more than 10 weeks of gripping evidence and heated exchanges involving Engoron, Trump, and his legal team. The proceedings in New York will resume in early January, as closing arguments are set to be delivered.