NYC judge refuses to accept Trump’s demand to end ‘biased’ fraud trial

The decision in favour of the N.Y. Times adds to Donald Trump's legal woes.

The decision in favour of the N.Y. Times adds to Donald Trump's legal woes. Photo: Getty

There was good news and bad for Donald Trump, who has seen his bid rejected to shut down a New York fraud trial but will be allowed to remain on the Colorado presidential ballot if we wins the Republican nomination.

The New York judge has rejected Donald Trump’s bid for a mistrial in state Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud lawsuit against him after the former US president accused the judge and his law clerk of being politically biased.

Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan said he could not “in good conscience” let Trump pursue a mistrial request that was “utterly without merit”.

James ran for office promising she would accuse and prosecute Trump, his adult sons, his company, and other defendants for allegedly manipulating financial statements, asset values and Trump’s net worth loan applications to banks and insurance companies.

She is seeking $US250 million ($A384 million) in penalties and wants Trump banned from New York state real estate business, among other remedies. The trial began in early October.

Trump’s bid for a mistrial had been a long shot, given Engoron’s earlier findings that Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent, and the judge’s defences of his law clerk.

‘Right to a fair trial’

“As expected, today the court refused to take responsibility for its failure to preside over this case in an impartial and unbiased manner,” Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said.

“We, however, remain undeterred and will continue to fight for our clients’ right to a fair trial.”

in Coloradio, Judge Sarah Wallace rejected a bid by a group of voters to disqualify Trump under a rarely used amendment to the US Constitution that bars officials who have engaged in “insurrection” from holding federal office.

In a decision almost certain to be appealed, Judge Wallace ruled Trump was not “an officer of the United States” as defined by statutes who could be disqualified.

Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in next November’s election.

His lawyers had taken issue with various rulings in the case by Engoron, a Democrat, and his editing a high school alumni newsletter that linked to articles about the case.

They also objected to political donations made by Engoron’s clerk, Allison Greenfield to the Democrats, claiming they were unethical. Public records show that Engoron has also donated to the Democrats.

‘Fairly, impartially, and professionally’

But the judge said he has presided “fairly, impartially, and professionally” throughout the more than three years he has overseen the case, and intended to do so until its conclusion.

“I stand by each and every ruling, and they speak for themselves,” Engoron wrote.

The judge also defended Greenfield, who has been campaigning for a judgeship, saying state law and ethics guidelines permitted her donations.

He also denied that Greenfield was exerting improper influence, saying his rulings “are mine, and mine alone” and that there was “absolutely no ‘co-judging’ at play”.

Trump and his lawyers have routinely attacked Engoron and Greenfield, prompting Engoron to place gag orders preventing them from commenting on his staff. Engoron has fined Trump for $US15,000 ($A23,034) for twice violating his order.

A state appeals court judge on Thursday temporarily put the gag orders on hold, pending review by a five-judge appellate panel.

Trump wasted little time thereafter to attack Greenfield, calling her “politically biased and out of control” on his Truth Social platform.

The former president also faces four unrelated federal and state criminal indictments, including two over his efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.

He has pleaded not guilty in those cases.


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