- Donald Trump returned to Manhattan court for the third day of his $250 million business fraud trial.
- Judge Arthur Engoron issued a gag order against Trump and others after the former president attacked the judge’s principal law clerk.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit accuses Trump, his two adult sons, the Trump Organization and its top officials of falsely overvaluing real estate properties and other assets in financial statements in order to obtain better loan terms and tax perks.
Former President Donald Trump returned to New York court for the third day of his $250 million business fraud trial, a day after being slapped with a limited gag order for making comments about the judge’s law clerk.
Trump on Wednesday outside the courtroom again called the trial a “witch hunt” and a “disgrace” as he claimed New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against him solely for political purposes.
Trump also called James, who is Black, a “political animal.”
On Tuesday, Trump on his Truth Social site had posted disparaging comments about Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron’s principal law clerk.
The post included the clerk’s full name and a photo from her Instagram account of her posing with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Trump accused the clerk of being “Schumer’s girlfriend” and “running this case against me.”
The former president later Tuesday brought up the clerk and Schumer in remarks to reporters outside the courtroom.
Engoron at the end of the day angrily called the attack on his staff unacceptable.
He ordered Trump to delete the social media post, and barred Trump and others in the case from targeting his aides.
“Consider this a gag order on all parties with respect to posting or publicly speaking about any member of my staff,” Engoron said.
Trump on Tuesday also launched attacks against Engoron and James, accusing them both of being politically biased.
The trial is being conducted without a jury, meaning Engoron alone will deliver verdicts.
In a social media post after the gag order, Trump complained about the statute used in the case and claimed he is “not even entitled to a JURY.”
Trump attorney Alina Habba also claimed Tuesday that “there was never an option to choose a jury trial” under the statute used in James’ lawsuit.
But the attorney general’s office and legal experts have told CNBC that the defendants could have requested a jury trial.
James’ lawsuit accuses Trump, his two adult sons, the Trump Organization and its top officials of falsely overvaluing real estate properties and other assets in financial statements in order to obtain better loan terms and tax perks.
The judge previously found that Trump and the other defendants were liable for fraud. He canceled their New York business certificates and ordered that the entities related to those certificates must be dissolved.
In addition to seeking $250 million in damages, James wants the court to permanently bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from serving as officers of any New York business.