New York Judge Makes New Order on Trump’s Assets Amid Trial

Catherine Yang
By Catherine Yang
October 5, 2023Donald Trump
New York Judge Makes New Order on Trump’s Assets Amid Trial
Judge Arthur Engoron in the courtroom before the start of the third day of the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump, in New York on Oct. 4, 2023. (Mary Altaffer/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over a case that will determine the fate of former President Donald Trump’s businesses and properties, has issued a new order that requires President Trump and co-defendants to notify the court’s independent monitor before transferring any assets or creating a new entity, including applying for a new business certificate outside of New York.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued President Trump last year claiming he inflated his net worth to receive more favorable terms from insurers and banks, and is seeking $250 million in penalties and to bar the 45th president and his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. from doing business in the state.

On Sept 26, Justice Engoron issued a pretrial summary judgment, ruling President Trump liable for fraud. The trial began on Oct. 2, as prosecutors still need to prove their case on six claims, after which the judge will rule on the penalties owed.

As part of the summary judgment, Justice Engoron cancelled all business certificates held by President Trump and his adult sons, as well as former Trump Organization executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, who is expected to testify in the case soon. He also ordered both parties to submit names of independent receivers, who would function like an executor, to handle the dissolution of the various LLCs under the Trump Organization, which is an umbrella brand.

The Oct. 5 filing gives the defendants seven days to provide the independent monitor, former judge Barbara Jones, with a list of all entities they control and own, as well as other information regarding the entities.

They now have until Oct. 26 to provide the list of independent receivers, an extension from the judge’s initial order of 10 days after Sept. 26.

Complications arose when the judge initially made that order, as Trump attorneys asked whether it meant buildings like Trump Tower would be sold off, or managed by a third party, and what this would mean for properties like the residential homes of Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., which are also held by LLCs under the Trump Organization.

After conferring with his clerk, Justice Engoron said he wasn’t ready to issue an order on that at the moment, but they would hash out details later as the trial was underway.

The Thursday order was not discussed on court, which continued on day four with the testimony of the prosecution’s first witness, Donald Bender.

Accountant’s Testimony

Mr. Bender, former Mazars USA partner, was an accountant who prepared Donald Trump’s personal tax returns from 2009 to 2018. From 2011 to 2012, he worked closely with the Trump Organization, spending about half his time on the client, and prepared the financial statements on which the prosecutors are suing President Trump.

On Monday, he was questioned by the prosecution, which sought to establish that the Trump Organization was responsible for the numbers in the statements, not Mazars. Mr. Bender said he would copy and paste in figures provided by Trump Organization officials, and testified to documents that stated the Trump Organization’s responsibility in accurate accounting.

The prosecution went over each year, document by document, and questioning continued into Tuesday. On Wednesday, the defense had the first chance to cross-examine Mr. Bender, and sought to counter the prosecution’s case year by year in the same fashion. However, the judge demanded they speed up, arguing with the defense and pounding his fist on the desk, even questioning the witness himself.

Mr. Bender’s testimony was paused to allow the prosecution to call their second witness on Wednesday. Camron Harris, audit partner at Whitley Penn, picked up where Mr. Bender left off, as Whitley Penn now prepared Trump Organization’s financial statements. He testified much the same, that the Trump Organization assumed responsibility for the accuracy of the figures, which is stated in documents sent from the group’s CFO Mr. Weisselberg, who is named as a defendant.

On Thursday, Mr. Bender returned to the witness stand for cross-examination from the defense.

President Trump had surprised observers when he attended his own trial Monday, speaking to reporters at length, and again on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he left early and has not returned to court. During his remarks to the press, he said more than once he would rather be campaigning.

“I’m here, stuck here, and I can’t campaign,” he said.

“Why attend?” he said, responding to a reporter’s question. “Because I want to point it out to the press, how corrupt it is, because nobody else seems to be able to do it.”

From The Epoch Times

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