Trump fraud trial live updates: Trump confirms he'll testify Monday – ABC News
The former president is on trial in New York for allegedly defrauding lenders.
Donald Trump Jr. returns to the witness stand in civil fraud trial
Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million civil lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.
Trump, his sons Eric Trump and and Donald Trump Jr., and other top Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate Trump’s net worth in order get more favorable loan terms. The trial comes after the judge in the case ruled in a partial summary judgment that Trump had submitted “fraudulent valuations” for his assets, leaving the trial to determine additional actions and what penalty, if any, the defendants should receive.
The former president has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have argued that Trump’s alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.
Judge Arthur Engoron’s attorney argues in a new court filing that the willingness of Donald Trump’s followers “to engage in violence to show their support” for Trump justifies the limited gag order in the former president’s civil fraud trial.
Trump filed an Article 78 proceeding against Engoron earlier this month to remove the gag orders the judge imposed prohibiting him from commenting on the judge’s staff, but a panel of judges vacated a temporary stay of the gag orders last week.
“It is undisputed that Mr. Trump has an inordinate ability to draw attention, fervor, and animosity to those he singles out for attention. Whether he seeks it or not, some of Mr. Trump’s followers are willing to engage in violence to show their support,” said Engoron’s attorney Michael Suidzinski, an assistant deputy counsel with the New York State Office of Court Administration.
Engoron’s attorney questioned Trump’s need to speak about the judge’s staff during the trial or his campaign, adding that the gag order still permits him to criticize Engoron, the attorney general, the case itself, witnesses, and the entire judicial process.
“It is unclear, however, how his ability to talk about Justice Engoron’s court staff is necessary for his campaign when this country faces a number of issues more worthy of debate,” Suidzinski wrote.
“Given the real and demonstrated likelihood of harm that could come to Justice Engoron’s court staff if the gag orders were annulled, Justice Engoron’s legitimate and justifiable interest in preventing such harm greatly outweighs the de minimis interference to Mr. Trump’s rights,” Suidzinski wrote.
Court is not in session today after the defense yesterday called off the testimony of Eric Trump, who was scheduled to be today’s lone witness.
Donald Trump’s legal spokesperson, Alina Habba, said that testimony from Eric Trump was no longer needed because the court has heard sufficient testimony from defense experts and Deutsche Bank executives.
Eric Trump, who took the stand in the state’s case last month, was scheduled to testify for the defense today — but defense lawyers abruptly called off his testimony yesterday in order to streamline their case, defense attorney Clifford Robert said in court yesterday.
“Although Eric Trump was certainly prepared to testify again, his testimony is no longer necessary. He has already testified fully and well in the case,” Habba said.
In a social media post Tuesday night, Donald Trump said he directed Eric not to testify.
“I told my wonderful son, Eric, not to testify tomorrow at the RIGGED TRIAL,” Trump wrote.
Former President Trump has confirmed he plans to testify as a defense witness on Monday.
“I will be testifying on Monday,” Trump wrote on his social media platform.
Court is not in session today, but Trump is expected to be in attendance tomorrow.
Trump’s plan to testify was thrown into question on Tuesday after Judge Arthur Engoron denied a request from the defense to delay the testimony to accommodate Trump’s effort to appeal the limited gag order in the case that prohibits him from commenting on the judge’s staff.
“He is not capable of fully testifying because he is subject to the gag order,” Kise said, arguing for a delay.
“Absolutely not. No way, no how. It’s a nonstarter,” Engoron said in response to the defense’s request for a delay. “If he is going to testify, it’ll be Monday, and that’s that.”
While Trump’s lawyers have attempted to appeal the limited gag order to a higher court, their application to expedite the appeal was denied on Monday, ensuring that the limited gag order will be in place when Trump testifies.
During a campaign stop in Iowa, Trump repeated his claims that his opponents are trying to silence him, describing the gag order as an “honor.”
“In many ways, it’s an honor because if they wanted to hear me speak, they wouldn’t do the gag order,” Trump said.
When asked if he’s concerned about his scheduled court testimony, Trump said “No, not at all.”
Trump is set to be the final witness for the defense case when he testifies on Monday.
ABC News’ Soorin Kim and Lalee Ibssa contributed to this report.
Prior to his brief cross-examination, real estate valuation expert Lawrence Moens quoted John Lennon’s “Imagine” and compared Donald Trump to Martin Luther King Jr. at the conclusion of his direct testimony.
“You may say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” Moens said, quoting the “Imagine” lyrics before comparing Trump to Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr.
“He’s a dreamer for sure. If you have a dream and are a great American, I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” Moens said of Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago estate he praised as “something breathtaking” and “amazing to see.”
Moens’ cell phone went off during his testimony, and he briefly interrupted his direct examination to answer a call.
“I’ll call you right back … love you,” Moens said in a quiet tone as Judge Engoron watched in disbelief.
Moen apologized to the judge, explaining that the call was from his elderly father.
Court was adjourned for the day after Moens stepped off the witness stand.