Donald Trump has demanded that a mistrial be declared in his $250 million fraud case taking place in New York. The trial is for one of six legal cases that Trump is involved in, and one of two civil cases with the rest being of a criminal nature. It is the first case to go to trial.
Trump’s Fraud Case
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Trump last September, alleging he committed fraud by misrepresenting his net worth and overstating the value of several of his properties — such as his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida — to deceive banks and obtain better loans. Among his co-defendants are three of his children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric — alongside the Trump Organization.
Overseeing the Trial
Overseeing the trial is Judge Arthur Engoron, whom Trump has disparaged several times on social media. Trump and his lawyers have now called for a mistrial, claiming that Engoron and his law clerk are biased against the defendants.
Trump’s attorneys have argued that Engoron wrongfully shared links to news articles ‘disparaging’ the former president, as well as alleging that Engoron’s law clerk has been allowed to get overly involved in the case.
The 30-Page Motion
The lawyers claimed in a 30-page document that: “Given the demonstrable partisan bias present on the bench at trial, the only way to maintain public confidence in a truly independent and impartial judiciary and the rule of law is to bring these proceedings to an immediate halt.”
Prosecution Hits Back
James subsequently responded to the attack, suggesting that Trump was attempting to pull focus from the real problem — the fraud for which he is on trial.
The Gag Order
Trump had a gag order imposed on him by Engoron on October 3. This occurred after Trump falsely suggested that Engoron’s law clerk was the girlfriend of the Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer because she posed for a photograph with him. Trump’s implication was that Engoron and his clerk were biased against the Republican former president as a result.
Awaiting an Appeal
However, Trump has appealed the gag order, which is currently suspended pending the results of the appeal. Trump’s lawyers have said that the order “may reasonably be interpreted as an effort to shield” the clerk from receiving scrutiny over her role.
Allegations of Bias
In the document requesting a mistrial, Trump’s lawyers wrote: “The evidence of apparent and actual bias is tangible and overwhelming. Such evidence, coupled with an unprecedented departure from standard judicial procedure, has tainted these proceedings and a mistrial is warranted.”
Letters About the Case
Engoron apparently posted eight articles about Trump’s fraud case to a Wheatley School alumni newsletter that he is said to be behind. Trump’s lawyers declared that the letters disparaged Trump, Eric, and Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba.
The Defendants’ Rights
The lawyers continued: “This appearance of bias threatens both Defendants’ rights and the integrity of the judiciary as an institution,” noting that New York’s judicial code rules that “a judge shall not make any public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court within the United States or its territories.”
The attorneys went on to criticize the supposed status given to Engoron’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield. They declared that “the principal law clerk is given unprecedented and inappropriate latitude,” alleging that she acts as a ‘co-judge’ and conspires with Engoron in the courtroom through notes and whispers. Her alleged contributions to the Democratic Party were also highlighted.
Dismissing the Truth
James countered: “Once again, Donald Trump is trying to dismiss the truth and the facts but the numbers and evidence don’t lie. Donald Trump is now being held accountable for the years of fraud he committed and the incredible ways he lied to enrich himself and his family,” adding that “he can keep trying to distract from his fraud, but the truth always comes out.”
The Summary Judgement
Engoron has already made a summary judgment that Trump is liable for fraud. Despite this, he is yet to give his final ruling for several of the fraud charges, and Trump’s punishment also remains to be decided.
Always the Plan
People online were unsurprised by Trump’s demands due to his ongoing efforts to delay several of his trials. One forum user wrote: “The plan was, goad the judge into something stupid, push for mistrial. Judge didn’t do anything stupid, push for a mistrial anyway.” Another emphasized Trump’s additional plan to move “the trial into the court of ‘public opinion’ (aka Fox News and Truth Social).”
Odds of a Retrial
Despite Trump’s efforts, the chances of a retrial are said to be low, with many people on the internet expressing their confidence that Trump will not get his wish. One contributor asserted: “Yeah, not happening.”
Out of Options
Several commenters stated how Trump has been forced to resort to desperate measures due to a lack of other options. “It was always the plan because they have no defense,” one said. Another felt that such a move was typical of Republican politicians since “the victim mentality runs deep in the GOP.”
“A Deranged Baby”
The forum members were appalled by Trump’s behavior, which many of them perceived as immature and petty. “What’s the gist here?” one asked. “That Trump is such a deranged baby that he won’t allow a normal trial, and therefore he can’t be held accountable for his crimes? That’s a great reason for a mistrial. Very novel approach,” they concluded.