Judge Upholds Massive Court Case Against Trump, Rejecting Begging For A Dismissal

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Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the ongoing trial in New York on claims from the state’s Attorney General Letitia James accusing Donald Trump and others of business fraud, rejected on Wednesday a request from a lawyer in the Trumps’ corner for a quick win.

The lawyer, Cliff Robert, made that request amid disputes over testimony from Michael Cohen, the infamous former lawyer to the past president himself who has since made a very public break with Trump. Cohen has testified this week under questioning from both the attorney general’s team and the Trumps’ team, addressing the veracity — or lack thereof — in past statements he’d made to a legislative committee regarding whether Trump directed that stated values in statements of his personal wealth be increased. (That kind of thing underlies James’ whole case.)

Cohen claimed at the time that Trump hadn’t done so, and initially, he’d seemingly indicated on the stand in New York that those comments provided to Congress were deceptive. He somewhat walked back that notion on Wednesday, clarifying that, in his telling, it actually was correct that Trump never pushed “to inflate the numbers on his financial statement,” as Robert (the lawyer) summarized it. But as Cohen argued, the idea was still clearly communicated even if not directly stated, which is a manner of professional communication that Cohen already stated outside this courtroom that Trump utilizes.

“Robert then asked the judge for a directed verdict to dismiss the trial because Cohen was a key witness in the case,” CNN summarized Wednesday. The judge denied the request. Trump, who’d been present though he’s not been required to be there for any of the proceedings, then stormed from the courtroom, not quickly returning. Trump had also been himself on the stand briefly on Wednesday to speak on comments he’d made earlier in the day that the judge found to evidently refer to a judicial clerk in his court — thereby violating an earlier gag order. Engoron imposed limited fines, continuing to threaten other punishments.