Judge Arthur Engoron Explains the Absence of a Jury in Trump's NY Fraud Trial
Former President Donald Trump's ongoing legal fights have taken center stage even as he faces a $250 million civil fraud trial in New York. The absence of a jury is one feature of this high-stakes courtroom drama that has gotten a lot of attention, as stated by Judge Arthur Engoron in a recent hearing. This discovery has stirred debate regarding the trial's nature, the distinction between equitable and legal remedies, and the consequences of Trump's legal approach.
In 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a $250 million lawsuit against Trump, two of his sons, their corporation, and other executives, accusing them of years of rampant fraud, reports CBS News. The presiding judge, Engoron, explained why a jury was not an option in this case, addressing concerns raised on social media and by Trump himself.
In reality, in their documentation certifying the case was ready for trial, James' office had specified a non-jury proceeding. Trump's legal team had a 15-day opportunity to file an appeal, but they chose not to. "It would not have helped to make a motion. Nobody forgot to check off a box," Engoron remarked, offering insight into the intentional nature of this decision.
Judge in Trump's New York fraud trial explains why there's no jury https://t.co/e1pR4qZVC3— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 11, 2023
The nature of the remedy sought by the state is a critical consideration in the absence of a jury. The state of New York is seeking an "equitable" remedy rather than a "legal" remedy. A legal remedy in this scenario would be an award of damages, which would be evaluated by a jury. The state, on the other hand, is seeking $250 million in disgorgement, an equitable remedy that seeks to recoup ill-gotten gains, to symbolize the benefit that Trump and his co-defendants allegedly obtained from their alleged fraudulent conduct.
President Trump:— Vince Manfeld (@AureliusStoic1) October 4, 2023
If this disgraceful New York trial had a jury, I would win a verdict easily. Even in New York.pic.twitter.com/h7Ei8uw6xD
Engoron stated clearly that such a difficult calculation is the responsibility of the court and cannot be left to the discretion of the jury. One of Trump's attorneys, Alina Habba, thanked Judge Engoron for addressing this matter. She stressed that the lack of a jury was not due to a mistake on their behalf. I would like to say thank you, your honor,” Habba said. “There was never an option to choose a jury trial." This clarification may help to dispel some of the frequent rumors surrounding the trial while also highlighting the legal complexities at work.
While Trump stated a wish for a jury to hear the case, Judge Engoron explained that even if Trump's team had formally asked a jury, it would have been refused. This refusal derives from the fact that James' complaint sought equitable remedy, which does not allow for a jury trial. These developments raise several critical questions regarding the trial, its ramifications, and Trump and his legal team's legal approach.
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