BAD NEWS For Trump, NY Trial Continues

Former President Donald Trump made yet another attempt to overturn a federal gag order at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit - with his attorneys arguing that the appeals panel was wrong on five counts, and as such, a rehearing is in order in the decision regarding his 2020 election interference case before Judge Tanya Chutkan.

"The opinion holds that President Trump must be silenced to protect trial participants from possible threats or 'harassment' from unrelated third parties," reads the petition, after the appeals court panel agreed with the rationale of lower court judges in issuing two separate gag orders on the former president.

"In doing so, the opinion conflicts with decisions of the Supreme Court and other Circuits, warranting en banc consideration both to secure uniformity of this Court’s decisions and because of the question’s exceptional importance," they wrote, requesting an en-banc hearing before all of the judges in the court.

The appeals panel said, first during a hearing and later in the issued opinion, that they sought a balance between First Amendment rights and the need to uphold the integrity of court proceedings.

The defense attorneys argue that the court ultimately accomplished neither and reinforced the gag order based on "a third standard, for which it cites no authority." When it comes to restricting speech to prevent harm, there is another set of precedents to inform these decisions, and defense attorneys argue that the appellate court judges did not meet those standards, primarily the "clear and present danger" test set by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. -Epoch Times

Trump's attorneys referenced cases in which it was ruled that presidential candidates have "absolute freedom" in their speech, and that the judges didn't properly consider these cases. They also used the 'heckler's veto' theory, arguing that the appeal's court is wrongly making assumptions about anticipated reactions to Trump's speech, and have justified those assumptions "on the basis that the audience is not 'hostile' to President Trump, but that justification contradicts the Supreme Court's incitement doctrine."

Judge questions expert witness, denies bid to dismiss

Meanwhile, in Trump's New York real estate case, Judge Arthur Engoron rejected the former president's bid to toss the case, while also questioning the credibility of a key defense witness who was paid nearly $900,000 to appear.

Justice Arthur Engoron presides over the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump at New York State Supreme Court, in New York City, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Jeenah Moon/Pool/Getty Images)
Justice Arthur Engoron presides over the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump at New York State Supreme Court, in New York City, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Jeenah Moon/Pool/Getty Images)

According to ENgoron, there were "fatal flaws" in the Trump team's argument - the "most glaring" being the assumption that the testimony of their witnesses "is true and accurate, or at least that the Court, as the trier of fact, will accept it as true and accurate."

One of the experts, NYU Professor of Accounting, Eli Bartov, refuted any suggestion that his payment influenced his opinion, and said he was "shocked" at the judge's remarks, the Epoch Times reports.

"Bartov is a tenured professor, but all that his testimony proves is that for a million or so dollars, some experts will say whatever you want them to say," wrote Engoron in his three-page ruling. "His overarching point was that the subject statements of financial condition were accurate in every respect."

Mr. Bartov testified on Dec. 7 that he did not find any evidence of fraud in the Trump family real estate company's financial statements, which are central to the New York attorney general's allegations of overstating property values to gain favorable loan and insurance terms.

However, he pointed out in an email that his testimony included the fact that President Trump's statement contained errors.

"No expert rebutted my testimony or testified that they found fraud," Mr. Bartov said. "As to his speculation that my billing rate had anything to do with my opinion, this is my standard billing rate."

Mr. Bartov disclosed that he billed more than $870,000 for approximately 650 hours of work, with payments received from both the Trump Organization and Save America, a political action committee supporting Trump's 2024 election campaign. -Epoch Times

So, Trump can't speak his mind, and his expert witness is discarded simply because the judge disagreed. What a world.

via zerohedge

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