Attorneys for former President Donald Trump are preparing to ask for a mistrial in the New York fraud case, citing various concerns. Attorney Alina Habba revealed during a recent appearance on Fox News that they will be filing a request for a mistrial shortly. She emphasized that the former president is troubled by issues related to the judge and the trial clerk. Ms. Habba added that the gag order has limited her ability to elaborate further on the matter.
Ms. Habba stated, “We will be filing papers to address all of those issues,” acknowledging the challenges they face, such as filing a motion for the judge’s recusal, which they have attempted twice. Ultimately, it is up to Judge Arthur Engoron, who presides over the “bench trial,” to make these determinations. She expressed confidence that the judge should consider recusal based on the information they have uncovered.
The former president’s legal team has started presenting their case in the $250 million lawsuit New York Attorney General Letitia James filed. The lawsuit alleges that the Trump Organization engaged in fraudulent activities over a decade, including falsely inflating the value of its assets.
President Trump and his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have vehemently denied any wrongdoing, with President Trump characterizing it as a politically motivated attempt to thwart his potential third presidential campaign.
In a separate Fox News interview, Ms. Habba asserted that the Trump Organization could demonstrate that no lenders suffered harm and were paid promptly with interest, ultimately profiting from their dealings. She argued that the case was driven by Ms. James’ desire for personal recognition, referencing statements made by the attorney general during her initial campaign about prosecuting President Trump.
Ms. Habba also criticized Ms. James, suggesting that she should dismiss the case as it reflects poorly on her and diverts attention from more pressing matters. She highlighted the judge’s potential bias against their side as another concern, further emphasizing the need for impartiality.
Last week, Rep. Elise Stefanik, a prominent House Republican, lodged an ethics complaint against Judge Engoron, alleging “clear judicial bias” against President Trump and his company. Stefanik’s complaint asserted that the judge had not upheld President Trump’s due process rights under the U.S. Constitution and pointed out the former president’s status as a leading GOP presidential contender for the 2024 race.
As of now, Judge Engoron has yet to publicly respond to the complaint. Before the trial, the judge ruled that the Trump Organization had defrauded banks and insurers by inflating the value of its assets, resulting in the revocation of some of the former president’s business licenses as a penalty.
Judge Engoron’s ruling faced criticism from some real estate professionals, particularly regarding the valuation of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, which the judge deemed significantly overvalued.
While a New York appeals court judge temporarily halted the process of breaking up President Trump’s businesses about a month after the initial ruling, they rejected President Trump’s attempt to dismiss the fraud trial.
In addition to the fraud case, the former president faces separate criminal charges in Georgia, Washington, D.C., Florida, and New York City, maintaining his plea of not guilty to all counts in each instance.