After weeks of nasty quibbling with Judge Arthur Engoron during the cross-examination of defense witnesses, the Trump side expects latitude.
The media and public should brace themselves for the most heated phase of the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump when courtroom proceedings resume on Monday—if past interactions between the defense and the judge and government lawyers are any indication.
On Nov. 13, the defense will begin to make its case on behalf of the 45th president and 2024 candidate, as well as his two sons and daughter, who are no longer defendants in the case yet faced relentless and acrimonious cross-examination on the witness stand over the last two weeks.
President Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. is expected to be the first to testify for the defense.
Trump lawyer Christopher Kise and Judge Arthur Engoron feuded throughout the cross-examination of President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump. The defense attorney has objected constantly that questions posed were irrelevant to the legal issues at hand or that no one could reasonably expect the people on the stand to recall the details of documents, records, meetings, and conversations from as far back as 2012.
As if to add further contentiousness to the proceedings, New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office on Friday sent a letter to Judge Engoron seeking to block testimony from four expert witnesses set to take the stand during the defense phase next week. Their testimony would address the accuracy of valuations contained in statements of financial condition submitted to Deutsche Bank and other firms for the purpose of securing favorable terms for loans and insurance. In the view of the attorney general’s office, such testimony is beside the point given that the judge has already ruled that Trump is guilty of fraud.
Nor has the pro-Trump side been inactive during the run-up to the next phase of the trial. On Friday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) sent a lengthy letter to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, spelling out a litany of complaints about how Judge Engoron has conducted himself and his alleged bias against the respondents in the lawsuit.