Former President Donald Trump is slated to take the stand in his $250 million civil fraud trial, his attorneys announced in a New York court on Monday.
Chris Kise, Trump’s attorney, revealed that the former president will be the defense’s final witness on December 11, while his son Eric Trump is scheduled to testify on December 6. Both have already provided testimony in the case, which was brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accusing the Trumps and their company of inflating financial statements to the tune of billions of dollars.
In a separate legal development, Trump’s attorneys argued before a New York state appeals court that their client should not be held accountable for threats made against the law clerk of Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the civil fraud trial. Trump’s legal team dismissed claims that the former president has jeopardized the clerk’s safety, asserting that the purported security concerns lack substance and that the communications in question do not pose a clear and present danger.
Trump’s lawyers urged the appeals court to maintain the pause on the gag order, which restricts Trump and his legal team from publicly discussing the clerk. The state Office of Court Administration, representing Judge Engoron, argued that limiting speech threatening the safety of the court’s staff does not violate the First Amendment.
In a statement, Kise criticized the gag order, asserting that it “seeks to shield the Court from the scrutiny essential to maintaining public confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law.” He called the gag order “beyond outrageous” and argued that it could prevent Trump, a frontrunning presidential candidate, from addressing what he views as public, partisan conduct influencing the trial.
The civil fraud trial alleges that the Trumps inflated financial statements by billions of dollars, with social media posts by Trump prompting a temporary pause on the gag order. The appeals court is yet to rule on the matter, adding another layer to the ongoing legal battles surrounding the trial.
This legal saga has unfolded against the backdrop of Trump’s social media posts about the clerk, which led to accusations of bias. Trump’s lawyers have consistently complained about the clerk’s alleged partiality, claiming she showed bias during the trial. The legal proceedings have been marked by a series of contentious interactions, reflecting the intensity of the legal battles between Trump and the prosecution.