Former President Donald Trump will close out the New York civil fraud trial against him by taking the witness stand again on Dec. 11.
His attorney, Chris Kise, told reporters on Nov. 27 that Eric Trump, the former president’s son and executive vice president at the Trump Organization, will testify on Dec. 6, and that the former president will close out the trial.
Case So FarMs. James sued President Trump and Trump Organization executives in September 2022, and this past September New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled in a summary judgment that President Trump had inflated his net worth and was liable for fraud.
It was a victory for the attorney general on one of the seven claims in the petition, and the trial required state attorneys to argue the rest of their case, producing evidence that they said showed materiality and intention to defraud.
The prosecution rested its case on Nov. 8.
Defense attorneys then requested a directed verdict, asking the judge to end the trial and find that the state attorneys failed to show materiality and intent, relying purely on the judge’s summary judgment to prove fraud occurred.
Justice Engoron quickly denied the motion, and later promptly denied a motion to declare a mistrial put forth by the defense as well.
Toward the end of the attorney general’s case, animosity between the judge and the defense became obvious and heated, with yelling in the courtroom and loud declarations from the defense that the judge was showing bias.
Trump’s TestimonyThe former president previously testified at length, giving detailed history and commentary on his properties.
On Nov. 6, he maintained that he did nothing wrong and that the statements of financial condition (SFC) at the center of the case were in fact undervalued.
In the Sept. 26 summary judgment, Justice Engoron found that President Trump inflated his net worth by up to $2.2 billion annually in Trump Organization SFCs from 2011 to 2021.
President Trump has stated many times that if one accounts for his brand value, his net worth is “much higher” than what was stated on the SFCs.
During his testimony, he touted his properties, the deals he made, and the improvements he brought via development. The judge showed increasing frustration with the former president’s lengthy answers, leading Justice Engoron to interrupt and tell Mr. Kise to “control his client.”
The defense attorneys noted that President Trump has 50 years of development experience, has contributed greatly to the skyline of New York, and that in any other real estate case he would qualify as an expert.
Mr. Kise argued that this was an unprecedented situation and that President Trump was justified in providing the explanations.
The exchanges between the defense and judge were only increasingly tense from then on.
President Trump declined to answer only “yes” or “no,” leading the judge to say, “If you can’t control him, I will, and will draw every negative inference” and “I am not here to hear what he has to say.” The defense attorneys later described the judge as red-faced and trying to scare their client into silence.
President Trump then interrupted his own testimony to comment on the bias he observed from the judge and the state attorneys.
“This is a very unfair trial,” he said. “And I hope the public is watching.”
He criticized the judge’s decisions regarding the evidence he would allow, the defense arguments he had dismissed, and his valuing of Mar-a-Lago at $18 million. He also criticized the attorney general, saying she had no case and had not produced a single financial entity that claimed to have any issue with the Trump Organization.