Trump fraud trial live blog: Defense to begin presenting its case

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(NEW YORK) — 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.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Nov 13, 9:45 AM EST
Trump Jr., arriving in court, met with chants of ‘crime family’

Donald Trump Jr. and his defense lawyers arrived at the New York State Supreme Courthouse this morning to be met with a small crowd of protestors chanting “crime family.”

Trump Jr. did not make a statement before entering the courthouse, but offered a brief response to a question about his expected testimony.

Asked what he plans on saying today on the stand, he replied, “We’ll see what I’m asked.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James arrived at court shortly after Trump Jr. and took a seat in the courtroom with her staff.

Nov 13, 9:06 AM EST
Donald Trump Jr. attends UFC event ahead of testimony

Donald Trump Jr. took in some ultimate fighting ahead of his scheduled return to the witness stand this morning.

Trump Jr. attended a UFC doubleheader at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night with his father, in addition to Tucker Carlson, Kid Rock, and UFC president Dana White.

“I legitimately can’t think of a better squad to roll with,” Trump Jr. posted on social media.

Earlier that day while speaking at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump appeared to joke about appointing White to a position in a potential future administration.

“He’s a guy I’d like to make my Defense Chief. I wouldn’t call him my defense chief. I’d call him my ‘Offense Chief.’ He’d be my Offense Chief,” Trump said.

Nov 13, 8:32 AM EST
Defense to begin presenting its case

As Trump’s legal team prepares to begin presenting its case this morning, defense attorney Alina Habba says responsibility for the financial statements that the New York attorney general says are fraudulent lies with Trump’s external accounting firm.

Previewing the defense’s case during an appearance on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, Habba also said the banks that loaned money to the Trump Organization were responsible for conducting their own due diligence regarding Trump’s financial statements.

The state rested its case last week in the sixth week of the trial. The defense has said they expect their case to wrap up by Dec. 15.

Habba also suggested that Donald Trump plans to file a motion seeking a mistrial.

While Habba declined to comment on alleged misconduct by Judge Arthur Engoron’s clerk — which she is prohibited from doing due to the limited gag order handed down by the judge — she said the issue would be addressed in their mistrial motion “very soon.”

“I actually can’t tell you why, because I am gagged. I can tell you that we will be filing papers to address all of those issues,” Habba said.

However, Habba downplayed the chance the motion would be favorably decided Engoron.

“The problem we have is the judge is the one who is going to make those decisions, and he has proven himself to be quite motivated by the other side,” Habba said.

Nov 11, 1:51 PM EST
Court administrator responds to Stefanik’s complaint

In response to Rep. Elise Stefanik’s letter of complaint against Judge Engoron that she filed Friday with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, a spokesperson for New York State Office of Court Administration has issued a statement.

“Judge Engoron’s actions and rulings in this matter are all part of the public record and speak for themselves,” said Office of Court Administration communications director Al Baker. “It is inappropriate to comment further.”

Nov 10, 8:17 PM EST
Rep. Stefanik files complaint against Judge Engoron

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York has filed a judicial complaint against Judge Arthur Engoron.

The letter, addressed to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, largely concerns the judge’s rulings in the case and his public statements, and is unlikely to impact the proceedings of the trial.

“Judge Engoron’s bizarre and biased behavior is making New York’s judicial system a laughingstock,” Stefanik, a staunch Trump supporter, wrote.

The lengthy letter echoes some of Trump’s attacks on the trial, criticizing Engoron’s limited gag order in the case, the actions of his legal clerk, his summary judgment ruling, and his comments during Trump’s testimony this week.

“Simply put, Judge Engoron has displayed a clear judicial bias against the defendant throughout the case, breaking several rules in the New York Code of Judicial Conduct,” Stefanik wrote.

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