In the upcoming New York fraud trial, a significant blow has been dealt to Donald Trump’s defense strategy by Judge Arthur Engoron. Trump’s attempt to justify past lies on his financial statements by claiming that the eventual increase in his properties’ values validates those lies has been firmly rejected by Judge Engoron. The judge labeled Trump’s defenses as baseless both in terms of law and facts, dismissing the notion that inflated figures in financial statements can be justified retroactively.
This ruling has put Trump in a precarious position, especially since his lawyers had requested a bench trial, meaning Judge Engoron alone will decide the case. The judge’s stance that Trump is being dishonest has substantial implications for the former president’s legal standing.
To better understand the severity of Trump’s defense, experts have weighed in. David Reiss, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, pointed out the inconsistency in Trump’s argument. Reiss emphasized that property valuations are specific to a given point in time and do not extend into the future. Trump’s attempt to link past statements to future valuations was deemed illogical by experts, including cosmologist Marina Cortês from the Institute for Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal.
Cortês elucidated that Trump’s defense contradicts fundamental principles of physics, particularly the concept of the arrow of time, which dictates that the past and future are inherently distinct. Cortês explained that unless Trump had explicitly stated the future value of his properties in his past statements, his claims about increasing property values were nonsensical. She applied the principles of thermodynamics to illustrate her point, emphasizing that the future cannot revert to the past, just as water cannot naturally turn into ice at room temperature. In essence, Trump’s defense, according to Cortês, is tantamount to defying the laws of physics.
In summary, Judge Engoron’s ruling has severely weakened Trump’s defense in the fraud trial. The rejection of Trump’s attempts to retroactively justify his false financial statements, coupled with expert opinions highlighting the absurdity of his defense, underscores the challenging legal situation faced by the former president in the upcoming trial.