Judge rejects Trump's motion for mistrial; leaked tapes spells trouble

Judge rejects Trump's motion for mistrial; leaked tapes spells trouble

U.S. President Donald Trump. (File Photo: IANS)

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New York, Nov 18 (IANS) Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing former US President Donald Trump's $250 million civil fraud case, has rejected a motion for a mistrial from the former president and his co-defendants on Friday, dubbing the defence plea to throw out the case "utterly without merit".

"In good conscience, I cannot sign a proposed order to show cause that is utterly without merit, and upon which subsequent briefing would therefore be futile," Judge Arthur Engoron wrote.

Thus, Trump faces a double whammy – rejection of his plea for mistrial and leaked tapes of his co-defendants in hearings with law enforcement on racketeering charges in relation to election subversion in Georgia.

Trump and two of his adult sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, the Trump Organization and its top executives alleged the case was undermined by political bias – that Engoron and his law clerk had "tainted the proceedings" and that the evidence was "tangible and overwhelming, ” media reports said.

Their 30-page dismissal motion focused on what it termed "disparaging"news stories from NPR, The New York Times and others where Engoron had shared in his high school alumni newsletter.

The motion also pointed to political contributions to Democratic groups terming them as "partisan activities".

The motion included photos of Engoron and his clerk seated next to each other and accused them of "co-judging" the case.

"Such arguments are nonsensical," Engoron wrote.

Engoron imposed a partial gag order on Trump last month after the former president posted a photo of the judge’s law clerk, alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer referring to her as “Schumer’s girlfriend.” The order barred Trump, his defense team and the prosecution team from making public statements about his staff, US News and World Report dispatch said. .

Engoron has fined Trump twice – $5,000 and later $10,000 – for breaking the gag order.

Engoron has already ruled in a summary order that Trump and his adult sons were liable for fraud and cancelled the Trump Organization's business certificates.

The judge endorsed the New York Attorney General Letitia James allegations of former president and his business associates inflating the value of his net worth and properties to secure loans at concessional rates. James had sought $250 million in compensatory damages asking for a ban on the Trumps' serving as officers of their Manhattan business empire and on the company from engaging in business transactions for five years.

Meanwhile, leaked recordings Spell Trouble for Trump in Georgia Racketeering Case.

Leaked recordings offer new details of what four of Trump's co-defendants told law enforcement since agreeing to cooperate last month – including information that could prove damaging to the former president, the report said.

New details unearthed in snippets of recorded interviews with four of Donald Trump’s co-defendants who have entered plea bargains for lesser sentences in the Georgia election interference case spell trouble for Trump and others indicted in the sprawling racketeering scheme in Georgia.

The confidential taped interviews with Fulton County prosecutors were leaked on Monday to ABC News and The Washington Post.

The short clips feature former Trump attorneys Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro along with bail bondsman Scott Hall answering questions related to their individual roles in a conspiracy that saw them and 15 others charged with attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

All four have struck plea deals with District Attorney Fani Willis and her team in exchange for lesser charges and lighter sentences, and prosecutors have discussed similar arrangements with at least six additional co-defendants, according to news reports.

Powell said in her interview that the only reason that Trump leaned on her for legal advice was that the majority of White House aides told him he lost the elections and that he did not have a path forward.

"We were the only ones willing to support his effort to sustain the White House," she said.

"I mean, everybody else was telling him to pack up and go."

Ellis' statement to the prosecutors could harm Trump as she recounted a conversation she had with Dan Scavino, one of Trump's former top White House aides. He told her that it didn't matter if Trump lost – they weren't going anywhere.

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