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Trump braces for verdict in blockbuster New York fraud trial: Live


Fani Willis accuses prosecution of ‘lying’ in bid to remove her from Trump case

Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to deliver a verdict in Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial on Friday that could see the former president hit with millions of dollars in fines and sanctions.

The justice has already ruled that Mr Trump inflated his wealth on financial statements that were given to banks and insurers to make deals and secure favourable loans.

New York attorney general Letitia James is seeking $370m and a ban on the defendant and his fellow Trump Organization executives from doing business in the state.

On Thursday, another Big Apple justice, Judge Juan Merchan, denied Mr Trump’s motion to dismiss the case brought against him by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal a “hush money” payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels, setting a trial date of 25 March.

And in Georgia, Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis took to the witness stand to defend herself and former boyfriend Nathan Wade against a motion arguing they should be disqualified from prosecuting the sprawling racketeering case brought against Mr Trump and others over their alleged effort to interfere in the 2020 election in the Peach State.

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Georgia election case: Trump works overtime to attack ‘Fani Scandal’ after DA excels on witness stand

The Georgia prosecutor leading a sprawling election interference case against Trump testified in court on Thursday about allegations of misconduct levelled against her over accusations of a romantic relationship between her and fellow prosecutor Nathan Wade levelled by the former president and his co-defendants – questions that could potentially disqualify them from the case.

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis appeared in an Atlanta courtroom after defence attorneys questioned Wade about the timeline of their relationship and the expenses they shared.

The attorneys had already admitted to their relationship but firmly rejected the “meritless” and “salacious” allegations as “bad faith” attempts to see her kicked off a case that Trump has baselessly labelled a conspiracy against him, according to court filings.

Willis proved a formidable presence in court, telling defence attorney Ashleigh Merchant. “It’s ridiculous that you lied on Monday and yet here we are… I’m actually surprised that the hearing continued. But since it did, here I am.”

Defending herself stoutly, she got in plenty of zingers:

On Truth Social, Trump was working overtime to firefight the situation, insisting the “Fani Scandal” should lead to all involved being “immediately terminated and permanently erased from everyone’s memory”, which is not the conclusion impartial onlookers will have reached.

He resorted to baselessly smearing the DA and repeating claims she had already explicitly debunked in her testimony, such as the conspiracy theory that she had visited the White House to “collude” with Joe Biden.

Here’s Alex Woodward’s report on Willis’s day in the witness stand.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 10:45

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NY fraud trial: Trump lawyer says she doesn’t have ‘high hopes’ ahead of verdict

Trump attorney Alina Habba was getting her excuses in early during an interview with Newsmax this week.

“If I could file the appeal now, I would,” she told the conservative broadcaster. “There’s no surprises coming here.”

She continued: “I’ll be loud and booming right after the decision. I don’t have high hopes.”

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 10:15

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NY fraud trial: Verdict expected today in blockbuster case

Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to deliver a verdict in Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial on Friday that could see the former president hit with millions of dollars in fines and sanctions.

The justice has already ruled that Trump inflated his wealth on financial statements that were given to banks and insurers to make deals and secure favourable loans.

New York attorney general Letitia James is seeking $370m and a ban on the defendant and his fellow Trump Organization executives from doing business in the state.

A penalty like that could potentially wound the real estate empire that helped Trump craft his image as a savvy billionaire businessman and vaulted him to fame and the White House.

Judge Engoron is set to rule after 10 weeks of testimony from 40 witnesses, including Trump. Closing arguments were held on 11 January. The judge is deciding the case because juries are not allowed in this type of lawsuit and neither James’ office nor Trump’s lawyers asked for one.

The justice is expected to release his decision today, barring unforeseen circumstances that would necessitate a delay, court officials said.

Unsurprisingly, Trump has been raging about his fate on Truth Social, insisting the whole sorry business is just another example of election interference in action.

Here’s more on what to expect today.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 09:45

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Marjorie Taylor Greene doubles down accusing David Cameron of ‘calling us Hitler’

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 08:45

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Haley renews attacks on ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’ Trump

Nikki Haley is going all in on what she sees as the safest line of attack against Donald Trump — questions about his mental fitness and temperament in a year where the incumbent Democratic president is facing similar concerns.

The former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador sat down with NBC’s Craig Melvin for an interview with the Today show on Tuesday as she prepares for a showdown with Mr Trump in her home state that is a litte more than a week away. The primary election in South Carolina could be a jolt in the arm of her campaign as she continues to steeply trail the frontrunner — or, it could be the death knell of her presidential bid. It could also be neither of those things, as she plods along towards Super Tuesday in March.

Ms Haley made some of her most forceful criticism of Mr Trump’s mental state yet during the interview.

John Bowden listened to her remarks:

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 07:30

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Trump demands Biden impeachment in return for his 91 criminal charges

As former president Donald Trump prepares for four trials on a total of 91 criminal charges in four separate jurisdictions, the disgraced, twice-impeached ex-chief executive is lashing out with new demands for his allies in Congress.

Mr Trump, who routinely and falsely accuses President Joe Biden of masterminding the prosecutions against him in New York and Georgia state courts, as well as two other sets of federal criminal charges in Washington, DC and Florida, called on his Republican friends in the House of Representatives to impeach Mr Biden as a matter of revenge.

Speaking at a Wednesday night rally in South Carolina ahead of the Palmetto State’s Republican presidential primary, Mr Trump said the House “ought to impeach” the 46th president for allegedly “weaponising the DOJ, the FBI, and even the local DAs and attorney generals against his political opponent”.

There is no evidence that Mr Biden has played any role in the criminal cases against Mr Trump in any way.

Andrew Feinberg has the story:

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 05:30

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CPAC: What you need to know

Gustaf Kilander explains what happens at the event:

What happens at CPAC?

Argentinian President Javier Milei set to speak at CPAC after meeting chairman at right-wing event in Mexico

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 04:30

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Putin explains why he wants Biden, not Trump, to win US election

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia would prefer to see Joe Biden win a second term as US president, describing him as more experienced than Donald Trump. Speaking in an interview with a correspondent of state television, the Russian president declared that he would work with any US leader who is elected, but noted unequivocally that he would prefer Mr Biden’s victory. He added that he does not agree with allegations that Mr Biden suffers from cognitive and memory difficulties, saying he had not seen any sign of any problems during their face-to-face meeting in 2021.

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 03:30

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Georgia election case: Fani Willis’ timing of relationship with Trump prosecutor contradicted

Thursday’s hearing in Atlanta hinges not on whether Fulton County DAFani Willis and prosecutor Nathan Wade had a relationship — as the pair have already admitted they were romantically involved — but whether Ms Willis could be disqualified from the case. The defence has argued that the couple have financially benefited from Ms Willis hiring Mr Wade to prosecute the former president’s case.

The former DA’s office employee’s testimony came in direct contradiction to Nathan Wade’s testimony.

Kelly Rissman was watching the case unfold today:

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 02:30

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Earlier: Frustrated Trump judge sets hush money trial date as he throws out bid to dismiss case

The former president will stand trial on 25 March, what will likely be the first trial among the four criminal cases against him, as well as the first criminal trial against any current or former president.

With Mr Trump in attendance, New York Judge Juan Merchan held a pretrial hearing on Thursday in which he confirmed that the trial would go ahead as planned on the previously scheduled court date and rejected the former president’s attorneys’ attempts to dismiss the case altogether.

Alex Woodward reports from the courtroom in Lower Manhattan:

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 01:30



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