OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Alina Habba, one of the lawyers representing former President Donald Trump in a civil business fraud lawsuit, said that Trump plans to be “in and out as he sees fit” during the trial in New York City. Trump has been pulled off the campaign trail to defend his family’s business.
“It’s very important to him,” Habba said on Newsmax. “His entire life was not the presidency. The Trump Organization was Donald Trump, so this is important to him, and I think it sends a good message to New Yorkers and the world that at the end of the day, he’s a human being. He’s an American. He has a business. He’s trying to make money.”
She added that Trump wants the business he started to thrive and it has and that he’s “worth billions more than what’s on his statement of financial condition.”
Judge Arthur Engoron issued the gag order after Trump shared a post criticizing the judge’s chief law clerk, Allison Greenfield, on social media.
Habba did not comment on that but did speak about New York’s Democrat Attorney General Letitia James, accusing her of “ignoring the streets of New York and is doing this, in my opinion, for political gain. [She] campaigned in 2018 on getting Donald Trump, and we’ve got the campaign video to prove it.”
At the month’s end, Trump will give testimony. According to Habba, his sons Eric and Donald Jr. may also testify.
“They have nothing to hide,” Habba commented. “There wasn’t an injured party. Everybody made money. The loans were paid back. Ultimately, we have a statute of limitations for a reason. This judge is allowing things that have expired, dating back to as long as 2011. What’s the strategy there?”
She added that she would not comment on the defense’s privileged conversations, “but if you look at the decision from June, the appellate division was pretty clear on the statute of limitations … it’s our position that that’s being disregarded at this point, so we just keep objecting.”
Meanwhile, civil liability is at issue, and in September, Engoron issued a ruling that found Trump and the Trump Organization liable for fraud, which is also the basis of James’ lawsuit.
“We already are liable the minute before we walked in,” Habba commented. “He did it without looking at experts and without listening to witnesses. He granted that on summary judgment … we already were found liable for all of the things that they wanted to effectively accept, multiple counts of the same before we walked into court.”
Trump is currently facing civil fraud charges and Judge Arthur Engoron has taken preventative measures to ensure that he cannot make any secret moves to protect his wealth during the trial.
In a ruling issued last week, Engoron angrily demanded that all defendants in the case disclose their current ownership of and any third parties’ interests in the various businesses and organizations they control. There are other situations where forewarning is required, such as “the creation of a new entity” or “any anticipated transfer of assets or liabilities to any other entities.”
The court-appointed monitor, former federal Judge Barbara Jones, has asked for full disclosure of the company’s financials from Trump, his two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg, and Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney within one week.
Letitia James, the state’s attorney general, is demanding $250 million in damages from Trump in addition to a ban on the president and his two sons doing business in New York.
Trump hinted that he may take the stand during the civil trial “at the appropriate time.”
The former president is on the witness lists for himself and for the prosecution.
“Yes, I will” testify at the trial, Trump told reporters in remarks during the lunch break on day two of the trial Tuesday. “At the appropriate time, I will be,” he added.
“I think it’s going very well,” he continued after being asked to assess the trial thus far.