A New York state judge set an October 2023 trial date for the New York attorney general’s $250 million lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, his eldest children and the Trump Organization, just as the presidential election gets underway.
Judge Arthur Engoron set the trial for October 2, 2023, and laid out some parameters for how it will be conducted during a hearing on Tuesday. He said he is “aiming” to start the trial then but said if any parties run into any issue they could let him know.
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump and the company, told the judge, “My clients, they will be here. All of them.”
The attorneys sparred over the trial date with Trump attorneys arguing they need more time to go through the depositions of several dozen witnesses taken by the attorney general’s office.
Clifford Robert, an attorney for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, called the case “smoke and mirrors.”
A lawyer for the New York attorney general’s office, Kevin Wallace, replied, “This is all just their game of delay, delay, delay. They’re trying to push this into 2024.”
He said the Trumps already have most of the documents from their own records and those obtained from Mazars USA, Trump’s long-time accountant, who resigned last year. He said that a “significant amount of Mazars’ records are Donald Trump’s taxes,” but noted it was “not going to be that big of a factor in this litigation.”
The judge said the trial will have live testimony, rejecting the attorney general’s office’s request to put on its case using sworn affidavits. But he did not say whether the trial will be before a jury, heard solely by him, known as a bench trial, or some combination.
The hearing was heated with the judge questioning why attorneys for Trump, the company, Trump Jr. and Eric Trump filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit late Monday evening. The judge questioned why they made similar arguments to ones they made during a previous hearing over whether the judge should impose a monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s to ensure it did not continue the alleged fraud.
“It seems to me the facts are the same. The law is the same. The parties are the same. I don’t know why I and my staff not to mention the attorney general staff need to go through this all again,” Engoron said. “It’s like jumping through the same hoops.”
Trump is appealing the judge’s imposition of the monitor.
In a tense exchange, Habba told the judge, “As always it feels like we’re in a predetermined situation where you’re going to rule against us.” She added, “You’re telling us in 12 hours you’re predetermined that you’re going to dismiss our motions.”
The judge retorted, “You’ve already made those arguments and you’ve lost.”
He later added, “They’ll be a decision probably fairly shortly. I’m telling you how I feel. I have not decided the motions. I just think you’re wasting time and resources.”
Habba accused the judge of having a “clear bias against our client. You have for a year and half. It is unfair.”
The judge replied, “I am following the law and the facts as I best understand it. You have your remedies. You have already tried to take the case away from me. I have followed the facts and the law and I have been upheld unanimously.”