Donald Trump praised Judge Arthur Engoron for a "very fair" ruling at the end of the first day of his New York fraud trial Monday, which, according to the former president, means that "80% of this case would be over."
At issue was the New York Attorney General Letitia James's office calling of Mazars accountant Donald Bender as a witness about valuations used for Trump Organization's tax returns in 2011. However, it fell outside of the statute of limitations for fraud that occurred only to 2014.
"I trust that you can relate the 2011 documents to something that happened later," Engoron told prosecutors. "Or this has all been a waste of time."
Trump, hours after excoriating Engoron on the steps of the courthouse during a lunch break, had high praise for Engoron, saying, "the last five minutes was outstanding."
"The judge's last statement was very fair," Trump said to waiting cameras outside the courtroom. "The way I interpret that ... the statute of limitations is a very real thing in this country, and that would mean 80 percent of this case would be over."
Trump added that 80% of the case happened prior to 2011.
"But this was a big, big – I say surprise – but it was a great credit to the court that the judge was willing to do this, sort of overruled himself, and I greatly respect that," Trump said.
Just hours earlier, Trump called Engoron "an operative" who should be disbarred."
This is a judge that should be out of office," Trump said. "This is a judge that some people say could be charged criminally for what he's doing. He's interfering with an election, and it's a disgrace."
Engoron will also decide on six claims in the lawsuit brought by James, who is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York. It's a nonjury trial because, as Engoron pointed out, Trump's legal team failed to check a box that it preferred a jury trial.
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