An attorney for former President Donald Trump, arguing for the dismissal of the New York attorney general’s $250 million lawsuit against Trump, his children, and his family business, told a New York judge Tuesday, “You have a clear bias against my client.”
Judge Arthur Engoron, who has been overseeing the case, accused defense attorneys of “jumping through the same hoops” by submitting motions to dismiss that included rejected arguments from earlier attempts to make the case go away.
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Engoron said during Tuesday’s hearing, which was convened to go over scheduling matters. “I ruled on all these issues.”
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, implored the judge to consider for “at least a moment” the defense arguments on their merits.
“We filed the same arguments, your honor, because for a year and a half I’ve stood behind them. This is why we shouldn’t be before you,” said Habba, who earlier this year sought unsuccessfully to have the case moved to a different judge.
“You have a clear bias against our client. You have for a year and a half,” Habba said. “Every time we come to court, you’re prepared to rule against us.”
“You’ve already tried to take the case away from me,” Engoron responded. “I’ve followed the facts, the law, and I’ve been upheld.”
The judge set a trial date of Oct. 2, 2023.
The attorneys then clashed over the pretrial schedule, with Trump’s lawyers arguing for more time to mount a defense.
“I cannot tell you how unfair it is to have to sit for three years while they search, subpoena,” Habba said of the attorney general’s staff. “We would like a fair opportunity just like everybody else.”
Kevin Wallace of the attorney general’s office pushed back by accusing Trump’s attorneys of “trying to push this into 2024” and argued there should be no “leisurely schedule” set for a case he said is clearly in the public interest.
“This is a public proceeding brought in the public interest to stop fraud,” Wallace said. “We’ve been very open about what our theories are.”
Trump last week announced his third bid for the White House, with some aides suggesting privately that he believes declaring his candidacy will shield him from the multiple probes targeting him.
The attorney general’s office has accused Trump, his children and his company of inflating Trump’s net worth by artificially adjusting the values of his real estate portfolio. In the process, the lawsuit said, the Trump defendants duped banks into providing better lending terms than otherwise deserved.
Trump has denied wrongdoing. His latest motion to dismiss called the attorney general’s lawsuit “fatally flawed,” lacking a legitimate factual basis, and politically motivated.
“It is the culmination of a pretextual and politically-motivated prosecution which threatens to contravene statutory predicate, indelibly alter the NYAG’s enforcement authority, and violate the Defendants’ constitutional rights,” said Trump’s newest motion to dismiss.