POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

After judge’s rebuke, Trump returns to fraud lawsuit trial

Oct 4, 2023, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:56 am

Former President Donald Trump stands in front of a microphone....

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks in Clinton Township, Mich., Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Starting Monday, Oct. 2, Judge Arthur Engoron will preside over a non-jury trial in Manhattan to resolve remaining claims in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, his company and top executives. (AP Photo/Mike Mulholland, File)

(AP Photo/Mike Mulholland, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump returned to his New York civil fraud trial for a third day Wednesday after running afoul of the judge by denigrating a key court staffer in a social media post.

Trump, the Republican front-runner in the 2024 presidential race, is voluntarily taking time out from the campaign trail to attend the trial. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit accuses Trump and his business of deceiving banks, insurers and others by providing financial statements that greatly exaggerated his wealth.

Judge Arthur Engoron already has ruled that Trump committed fraud by inflating the values of prized assets including his Trump Tower penthouse. The ruling could, if upheld on appeal, cost the former president control of his signature skyscraper and some other properties.

Trump denies any wrongdoing. With familiar rhetoric, on his way into court Wednesday, he called James “incompetent,” portrayed her as part of a broader Democratic effort to weaken his 2024 prospects, and termed the trial “a disgrace.”

Trump has frequently vented in the courthouse hallway and on social media about the trial, James and Judge Arthur Engoron, also a Democrat.

But after he assailed Engoron’s principal law clerk on social media Tuesday, the judge imposed a limited gag order, commanding all participants in the trial not to hurl personal attacks at court staffers. The judge told Trump to delete the “disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post,” and the former president took it down.

The non-jury trial concerns six claims that remained in the lawsuit after Engoron’s pretrial ruling, and the trial is to determine how much Trump might owe in penalties. James is seeking $250 million and a ban on Trump doing business in New York.

On Wednesday, an accountant who prepared Trump’s financial statements for years was to continue testifying as a witness for the state. James’ lawyers are trying to show that Trump and others at his company had full control over the preparation of the statements.

The accountant, Donald Bender, told the court Tuesday that the Trump Organization didn’t always supply all the documents needed to produce the statements, despite attesting in letters to the accounting firm that the company had provided all financial records and hadn’t “knowingly withheld” relevant data.

During cross-examination, Bender acknowledged he missed a change in information about the size of the former president’s Trump Tower apartment.

Defense lawyer Jesus M. Suarez seized on that, telling Bender that Trump’s company and employees were “going through hell” because “you missed it.”

Bender responded: “We didn’t screw it up. The Trump Organization made a mistake, and we didn’t catch it.”

Trump plans to testify later in the trial.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

mitt romney at johns hopkins commencement ceremony...

Sam Herrera

Mitt Romney’s commencement speech at Johns Hopkins University interrupted by protesters

Sen. Mitt Romney was briefly interrupted by protestors as he spoke at Johns Hopkins University's commencement ceremony on Thursday,

14 hours ago

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks at the City-County Building in Salt Lake City, May 5, 2...

Aimee Cobabe

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is asking for a pay raise

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is looking to increase her pay for up to 26% which will make an additional $44,000 a year. She is also proposing a 5% pay increase for all city employees for this year.

1 day ago

Senator Mitt Romney addresses ongoing drought conditions in Utah during a Budget Committee hearing ...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Senator Mitt Romney says we should be doing more to combat drought

Senator Mitt Romney is taking a look at how money is being spent on drought-related issues and pushing for more collaboration on the subject.

1 day ago

nikki haley shown, she endorsed trump...

Sam Herrera

Nikki Haley endorses Trump for president

The endorsement comes months after Haley ended her own presidential bid in March.

2 days ago

the us house of representatives shown at the capitol, the house passed a bill about sodium nitrite...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

House passes bill to ban a compound used in suicides

Legislation backed by Rep. Celeste Maloy would ban the consumer sale of sodium nitrite, a product becoming increasingly common in suicides.

2 days ago

Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a break on the first day of his t...

Sam Herrera

Defense rests case in Trump hush money trial

The defense in the hush money trial rested its case just a day after the prosecution rested.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

After judge’s rebuke, Trump returns to fraud lawsuit trial