Donald Trump’s lawyers on Thursday asked a New York judge to decide a civil fraud case against the former U.S. president in his favor, a long-shot bid coming midway through a trial that has revealed the inner workings of his real estate empire.
The request for a directed verdict came in open court a day after the New York attorney general’s office rested its case against Trump, his two adult sons and 10 of his companies.
The trial will continue through mid-December if the motion is denied.
New York Attorney General Letitia James claims Trump and his family businesses manipulated the value of assets in his personal financial statements by billions of dollars to secure better deals with lenders and insurers and lighten his tax bill.
A directed verdict is when a judge finds that no one could reasonably rule in favor of the opposing party. Justice Arthur Engoron is highly unlikely to grant the request, having already found that Trump and 10 of his businesses committed persistent fraud.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has testified along with his sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. His daughter Ivanka Trump also took the stand but is not a defendant.
Trump has repeatedly accused James, an elected Democrat, and the judge overseeing the trial of political bias and “election interference.”
On Monday, he gave defiant and rambling testimony, acknowledging that his asset valuations were sometimes inaccurate but saying they were not relevant to banks and insurers.
James is seeking at least $250 million in penalties, as well as restrictions that would effectively bar Trump and his adult sons from the New York real estate business for five years.