Donald J. Trump’s defense lawyers this week will offer a look into his business operations and continue the parade of expert witnesses testifying on his behalf in a Manhattan courtroom.
The trial stems from a lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James. Ms. James has accused Mr. Trump and other defendants, including his companies and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, of inflating the value of assets to obtain favorable loans and insurance deals. Monday will be the 32nd day of the civil fraud trial against the former president and begin the second week of the defense.
The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ruled even before the trial that Mr. Trump and the other defendants were liable for fraud, and he will decide the punishment. Ms. James has asked that Mr. Trump pay $250 million and that he and his sons be permanently barred from running a business in New York.
Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing. His lawyers have argued that the assets had no objective value and that differing valuations are common in real estate. He is expected to return to testify in his own defense in the coming weeks.
This week, Mr. Trump’s lawyers will call the insurance expert David Miller, and the former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, who is also a defendant. The trial will break for Thanksgiving.
Witnesses for the Defense
Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., returned to the courtroom on Nov. 13 as the first witness for the defense. He kicked off its case by offering a rosy portrayal of Trump Organization properties and praising his father as a “genius” and a “visionary.”
It was Donald Trump Jr.’s second time on the stand: He testified weeks before in the attorney general’s case.
His testimony was followed by that of experts, including Jason Flemmons, a former deputy chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mr. Flemmons, who reviewed Mr. Trump’s financial statements, testified that the Trump Organization had used professional accounting methods. He said that depending on the method used, asset valuations could vary widely, and that it would be acceptable for the Trump Organization to select the highest one so long as the method of reaching it was disclosed.
Gag Order (Temporarily) Lifted
During the first week of the trial, Mr. Trump shared a post on social media with a photo of Justice Engoron’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield, standing next to the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer; he called her “Schumer’s girlfriend” and accused her of “running this case against me.”
In response, the judge issued a gag order prohibiting Mr. Trump from commenting on court staff. Over the last seven weeks, Mr. Trump has violated the order twice, resulting in $15,000 in fines.
Earlier this month, Justice Engoron expanded the gag order to include Mr. Trump’s lawyers. The lawyers appealed both orders.
On Thursday, a New York appeals court judge temporarily stayed the gag orders. In response to the decision, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Christopher M. Kise, said “Fortunately, the Constitution and the First Amendment protect everyone, including President Trump.”
Within hours of the stay, Mr. Trump posted a message on his Truth Social platform calling Ms. Greenfield “politically biased” and “out of control.”
The gag orders will be evaluated by a full appeals panel in the coming weeks.
Motion for Mistrial
Mr. Trump’s lawyers also called for a mistrial last week, citing “tangible and overwhelming” evidence of bias by Justice Engoron and Ms. Greenfield, both Democrats. Mr. Trump and his lawyers have objected to Ms. Greenfield’s prominence and frequent discussions with the judge, arguing that it appears that she is “co-judging.”
The motion, filed with the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, mentioned Justice Engoron’s sharing articles about the case with his high school alumni newsletter, and political donations made by Ms. Greenfield.
Justice Engoron on Friday denied the request for a mistrial, a decision that is likely to be appealed.
“My rulings are mine and mine alone,” Justice Engoron wrote. “That I may consult on the trial record, the law and the facts, before issuing any respective ruling is within my absolute discretion.”
What to Expect
Mr. Trump’s lawyers will continue to present their case after Thanksgiving, most likely calling more expert witnesses and bank representatives. In addition to Mr. Trump, other defendants may come back to testify, including his son Eric.
At the conclusion of Mr. Trump’s case, the attorney general will most likely call rebuttal witnesses. The trial is expected to conclude by Dec. 22.