Why Trump's fraud trial in New York doesn't have a jury
Former President Trump has repeatedly complained about the lack of a jury in his New York civil fraud trial, but his own legal team appears to have failed to request one.
Why it matters: Trump has claimed it's "unfair" that the judge in the case opted for a bench trial, without a jury. But the court docket shows that while Attorney General Letitia James filed a document requesting a bench trial, Trump's lawyers never filed any corresponding document requesting a jury.
- If Trump's team had requested a jury, then Judge Arthur Engoron would have had to consider both sides' requests.
- Representatives for Trump did not respond to requests for comment.
What is a bench trial?
- A bench trial is one in which the judge, rather than a jury, decides the case, according to the NY Courts system.
- Engoron is overseeing the trial, which began on Monday after James filed the $250 million lawsuit in September 2022. Engoron has already ruled that Trump committed fraud by exaggerating his wealth.
What did Letitia James' team request?
- James' team requested a trial without a jury in a note of issue filed to the court on July 31.
- The request also included a certificate of readiness for trial, which stated that there were no outstanding requests for discovery.
What is the judge's role?
- Engoron will decide the facts of the case and determine how to apply the law, per Cornell Law School.
- At the beginning of the trial, Engoron said that neither side requested a jury, according to AP.
What are Trump and his team saying?
- "I am not even entitled, under any circumstances, to a JURY," Trump posted Wednesday on Truth Social. He has made similar remarks throughout the trial.
- Alina Habba, a Trump attorney, said that Trump did want a jury but didn't explain why his legal team didn't request one, Insider reports.