'Disgraceful Situation': Trump Speaks Out on New York Case During Recess

President Trump's legal team has argued in filings that this statute of limitations assigned by the appellate court effectively dismisses Ms. James's case.
'Disgraceful Situation': Trump Speaks Out on New York Case During Recess
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives for the start of his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York City on Oct. 2, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Catherine Yang

Former President Donald Trump took a prominent position in the civil fraud case against him in New York, arriving last minute in court to give remarks to the press, staring down cameras once inside the courtroom, and then delivering another speech to the press when the court took a break after opening arguments.

"This is a disgraceful situation," he said during a break. "Murders are going on as you stand here. They're wasting everybody's time for many months with this case where banks got paid a fortune, loan money got paid back. Didn't even need that [loan] money. We built a great company, and we have to go through this."

He claimed that a June appeals court ruling was in his favor, dismissing "80 percent of the case."

"And this judge refuses to acknowledge the ruling, which is very plain for all to see," he said.

The ruling (pdf) said that the New York Attorney General had grounds to sue President Trump, but limited the case to transactions that were completed after Feb. 6, 2016, and claims accrued after July 13, 2014. Ivanka Trump was dismissed as a defendant after this ruling because she stopped working for Trump Organization in 2016.

President Trump's legal team has argued in filings that this statute of limitations assigned by the appellate court effectively dismisses Ms. James's case. Ms. James argued that the fraud for which is suing is documented in filings within the statute of limitations.

"It was limited, and 80 percent of the case was won by us in the appellate division," President Trump told reporters during the break, confirming the figure with his legal counsel. "He's [the judge] got attempt for his own court system ... he refuses to even talk about it."

The New York attorney general sued President Trump last September after three years of investigation, and is seeking $250 million in penalties and to bar him and his adult sons, who are in executive roles in the Trump Organization, from holding executive business posts in New York state. In August, she requested a summary judgment from the court on one of seven claims, that President Trump had inflated his net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion over the years.

Last week, the judge went a step further in his pretrial summary judgment, revoking President Trump's business certificates and ordering the dissolution of the Trump Organization and its related LLCs, putting the fate of his flagship properties in limbo as the case is hashed out in court.

The judge has estimated the case will last until late December.

$18 Million?

President Trump pointed to an article in The Sun, where Florida experts took issue with Justice Engoron's use of county assessor data as a stand-in for value.
Earlier in court, Justice Engoron had pointed out that he was quoting county assessor data, not personally valuing Mar-a-Lago at $18 million, and that his ruling of fraud had to do with President Trump's not taking easements of the property into account.

John Pickett III, president of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors, told The Sun that real estate professionals "very rarely" take county estimates into account, as they are far from "the pulse of the market."

Eli Beracha, director of the school of real estate at Florida International University, told the outlet that county appraisal data is used for tax assessment, and "not the right approach" to judge value.

He added that it was "not the job of the county appraiser to assess value."

Other brokers shared much the same.

President Trump has claimed that the "winter White House" resort-turned-club is worth at least $1 billion.

He read from the article, which said that the judge's use of county appraisal data is a "misunderstanding" of how real estate works.

"He didn't misunderstand it, this is a rigged court," he claimed. "He ruled and we didn't even get a chance to testify."

"I hope my lawyers go in and I hope they fight him very hard," he said.

President Trump is at the bottom of the prosecution's witness list, so he is not expected to testify today. He had not attended another civil case against him in New York earlier this year, and has not spoken to the press inside a courthouse in any of his previous arraignments.

Asked why he has come to attend day one of his trial, he said, "Because I want to watch this witch hunt myself. I've been on their witch hunt for years, but this is now really getting dirty."