Former President Donald Trump expressed his frustration after the first day of his trial, stating his belief that it’s unfair that he doesn’t have a jury. However, legal experts argue that the responsibility lies with Trump’s legal team, as they failed to request a jury trial. The case will now proceed as a bench trial, with New York Judge Arthur Engoron making the final verdict and potential penalties.
The civil fraud case, initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, targets not only Trump but also his children and two other high-ranking executives in The Trump Organization. Engoron has already ruled that Trump engaged in fraudulent activities, resulting in the “corporate death penalty” for the organization. Now, the remaining part of the lawsuit will be heard in a bench trial, where the judge reviews all evidence and delivers the final decision.
This development places the fate of The Trump Organization in the hands of Judge Engoron, who has ruled against Trump in the past and has been criticized by him for being politically motivated. The attorney general’s objectives are to retrieve alleged illicit profits, impose a $250 million penalty, and revoke the organization’s privilege to operate in New York.
Legal experts have expressed their surprise at Trump’s legal team’s oversight in not requesting a jury trial. MSNBC’s Katie Phang questioned Trump’s reaction to this lapse, while former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman called it “mind-blowing” and criticized the decision. Another defense attorney, Andrew Fleischman, expressed his disbelief that any lawyer on such an important case could make such a mistake.
The New York attorney general’s office had indicated their readiness for trial without a jury, leaving many legal experts astounded. The oversight now places the future of The Trump Organization in Engoron’s hands, adding to the uncertainty for Trump and his legal team.