Recently, in a surprising ruling just days before a $250 million civil trial filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump’s business empire, Judge Arthur Engoron criticized what he called Trump’s “fantasy world” of baseless arguments. Trump’s repeated attacks on prosecutors and judges overseeing his cases have led to concerns about threats and abuse they face. Judge Engoron slapped Trump with a gag order, prohibiting him from making further comments about the court’s staff. Despite this, Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, sent out a poorly timed email boasting about him fighting back against the fraud case. In court, Trump spent around nine hours in relative silence, sitting near his accuser while his son Eric sat behind him.
Trump had previously threatened “death and destruction” if he were ever found guilty of a crime just six months prior. Now that he is being prosecuted on several counts, his campaign utilizes his legal struggles to solicit money by casting him as a victim of an unfair legal system.
Trump claimed to his supporters throughout the trial that “Democrats” were trying to “financially ruin” him because he might run for president in 2024 and were taking away his civil rights. Additionally, James and Judge Engoron’s opposition research was disseminated by his campaign.
Trump claimed that 80% of the case would be thrown out due to statute of limitations issues, but the judge clarified that point. The trial aims to determine the punishments for Trump and his associates and whether James will succeed on various counts, including insurance fraud and conspiracy. Trump’s attorneys argue that there were no victims in his alleged fraudulent financial statements, but the judge disagreed. After the court appearance, Trump returned to Truth Social, criticizing the trial and the lack of a jury, which his attorneys never requested.