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The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump's New York civil fraud trial shut down Trump's assertion to reporters at the end of the trial's opening day Monday that he had suddenly reversed himself on the statute of limitations. To start Tuesday's proceedings, New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron clarified that Trump's comments were not true, according to The Messenger, explaining that his ruling last week ordering the dissolution of several of Trump's businesses found the former president had committed fraud every time he submitted a false statement of financial condition (SFC) to insurers and banks.
Though Trump's defense argued that the relevant conduct is when the loan "closed," Engoron rejected that theory, reiterating his reasoning again in court. "Every use of a [false] statement of financial condition in business starts the statute of limitations running again," Engoron said Tuesday morning, noting that he understands that Trump's attorneys "strongly" disagree with his argument and will likely appeal the ruling.
Trump's Monday remarks stemmed from the judge's exchange with his attorneys following hours of testimony from Donald Bender, a former accountant Trump's businesses had used whose examination largely hinged on documents from 2011 while an appellate court warned that only events from three years later fall within the applicable state of limitations. Later that day, Engoron declared that Bender's testimony must connect to events on or after 2014 in order to be relevant, which prompted the former president's remarks. But Engoron's recent decision finding Trump liable for fraud cited actions after 2014 and found that the relevant issue is when they were "completed," which includes the moments when Trump "still obligated to, and did, annually submit current SFCs to comply with the terms of the loan agreements."