Trump fraud trial live updates: 'Trump show is over' says AG James after he departs

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(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.

Trump, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" to inflate Trump's net worth while lowering his tax burden. The former president has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have argued that Trump's alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 04, 3:49 PM EDT
2nd accountant says Trumps were responsible for statements

Cameron Harris, an accountant from the firm Whitley Penn, has taken the stand as the trial's second witness following hours of testimony from former Trump accountant Donald Bender of Mazars USA, whose cross-examination will continue later.

Whitley Penn succeeded Mazars as Trump's accounting firm.

Harris testified that Trump's son Eric Trump "set the tone at the top" of the Trump Organization.

Like Bender, Harris testified that the Trumps had the ultimate responsibility for their financial statements.

"Who's responsible for the statement of financial condition?" asked state attorney Kevin Wallace as Eric Trump sat in the courtroom.

"The client's responsible for that," Harris replied.

The proceedings appear to have taken a more workmanlike tone since Trump left the courtroom to return to Florida. The defense has not logged a single objection after earlier objecting so often that it drew the judge's ire.

Oct 04, 2:51 PM EDT
'Trump show is over' says AG James after he departs

With former President Trump heading back to Florida after attending three days of the trial, New York Attorney General Letitia James told reporters that "the Donald Trump show is over."

Speaking to the media on her way into court following a break, James denounced Trump's rhetoric about the case, as well as his social media post about the judge's clerk.

"Mr. Trump's comments were offensive, they were baseless, they were void of any facts," James said.

Trump, who called James "corrupt" during his various appearances outside the courtroom, also denounced the case she brought as "rigged" and said it was timed to upend his campaign for the presidency.

"This case was brought simply because it was a case where individuals were engaged in a pattern and practice of fraud," James said. "I will not be bullied."

"Mr. Trump is no longer here -- the Donald Trump show is over," said James. "This was nothing more than a political stunt, a fundraising stop."

Oct 04, 2:30 PM EDT
Trump appeals judge's pretrail ruling that he committed fraud

Three days into their fraud trial, Trump and his co-defendants have appealed the pretrial ruling last week by Judge Engoron that Trump and his adult sons committed fraud in their business dealings.

Engoron made the determination last Tuesday but said the trial was still required to decide the scope of the penalty plus six remaining causes of action alleged by the New York attorney general.

Trump's appeal asks the court to consider whether Engoron "committed errors of law and/or fact, abused its discretion, and/or acted in excess of its jurisdiction" when he ruled that Trump committed fraud and canceled his business certificates in New York state.

Trump's last attempt in this case to appeal to a higher court was denied by the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court on the eve of the trial.

Oct 04, 1:59 PM EDT
Trump, departing trial, says 'this is corrupt'

Former President Trump appears to be done watching his civil fraud trial, and he had a lot to say about it on his way out of the courthouse.

Speaking to reporters, Trump renewed his attacks on Judge Engoron and accused the "whole system" of being rigged against him while referencing the criminal charges he faces in Washington, D.C., and Fulton County, Georgia.

"Our whole system is corrupt. This is corrupt. Atlanta is corrupt, and what's coming out of DC is corrupt," Trump said.

Trump again claimed that his net worth is more than is represented in his financial documents, and said that his Mar-a-Lago estate is worth "50 to 100 times more" than what Engoron determined.

Trump also resumed attacks on the judge -- who he said is "run by the Democrats" -- and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who he alleged is communicating with the Department of Justice to "keep me nice and busy."

The former president said he's been "stuck" in court when he would rather be campaigning in early primary states.

Asked by ABC News why he attended the trial despite no obligation to do so, he claimed his attendance was necessary to expose corruption to the press.

"Why attend? Because they want to point it out to the press how corrupt it is, because nobody else seems to be able to do it," Trump said.

Trump departed the courthouse and is not expected to return to court for the afternoon session.

Oct 04, 1:00 PM EDT
'This is ridiculous,' judge admonishes defense counsel

Judge Engoron lost patience with Trump's defense counsel during the cross-examination of longtime Trump accountant Donald Bender.

As defense attorney Jesus Suarez repeatedly asked Bender to recall how he arrived at specific values for specific assets in specific years, Engoron interrupted to ask how much longer the cross-examination would last.

Suarez said he would do his best to finish by the end of court today.

That prompted Kevin Wallace with the state attorney general's office to shout, incredulously, "Today?" Wallace accused Suarez of being overly performative with Trump seated at the defense table.

When Engoron reminded the defense, "Mr. Bender is not on trial here," Trump attorney Chris Kise interjected, "I would very much disagree with that."

The judge implored the defense to truncate the line of questioning.

"You're not allowed to waste time," Engoron said.

"This is insane," responded Trump attorney Alina Habba "He has not answered one question."

Engoron pounded the bench, asking reporters in the room to take note. "This is ridiculous," he barked.

Oct 04, 12:34 PM EDT
Trump back in courtroom

Nearly 30 minutes after court resumed following a break, Trump entered the courtroom and returned to his seat at the counsel table.

The defense's cross examination of Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender continued after a brief interruption.

Oct 04, 12:07 PM EDT
Trump not in courtroom following break

Court has resumed following a break, but Trump is notably absent from the courtroom. His paperwork remains at the counsel table, and his lawyers have left his seat empty.

Eric Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James returned to the courtroom after the break, along with the lawyers for both sides.

Former Trump accountant Donald Bender is back on the stand for his cross-examination.

Oct 04, 11:48 AM EDT
'Tell me what the point is,' judge tells Trump attorney

Trump attorney Jesus Suarez is continuing his attempts to discredit former Trump accountant Donald Bender's testimony, but his arguments seem to be wearing thin for the judge.

After Suarez played a short clip from Bender's deposition, Judge Engoron -- who is deciding the case himself -- told the attorney, "There's no jury. Tell me what the point is."

During another portion of the cross-examination, Engoron told Suarez, "It's starting to sound like 'How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.'"

Oct 04, 11:10 AM EDT
Cross-examination of ex-accountant continues

Continuing his cross-examination of Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender, who formerly worked on Trump's account, Trump attorney Jesus Suarez is adopting a less aggressive approach to his questioning than the theatrical approach he took yesterday.

When Justice Engoron appeared unreceptive to one part of Suarez's questioning, Trump, sitting with his attorneys, visibility groaned.

"It's easiest just to move on. Take a hint," Engoron said to Suarez about one of his attempts to discredit Bender.

Trump has been conferring with his attorney Alina Habba, taking notes, reviewing documents, and even ripping up papers while seated at the counsel table during the cross-examination of Bender.

Oct 04, 10:30 AM EDT
Trump says his net worth is 'much higher' than statements say

Former President Trump, on his way into court for Day Three of his trial, said that his financial statements under-report his wealth, despite the judge in his case already ruling that his financial records were fraudulently inflated.

"My real net worth is much higher than that, much higher than the statement," Trump told reporters.

Decrying his trial as the "beginning of communism in our country," Trump continued his attacks on New York Attorney General Letitia James but did not comment on Judge Arthur Engoron.

"This is just a continuation of the witch hunt that started the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower," Trump said.

Oct 04, 10:03 AM EDT
Trump back in court for Day Three

Former President Trump is back in court for Day Three of the trial, where defense counsel is expected to continue its cross examination of longtime Mazars accountant Donald Bender.

Once questioning of Bender concludes, the state says they plan to call Whitley Penn audit partner Camron Harris, who took over Trump's accounting after Mazars.

Justice Arthur Engoron may also address the narrow gag order he placed on Trump and the other defendants yesterday regarding making statements about the judge's staff, after the former president made what Engoron described as a "disparaging, untrue, and personally identifying post" involving Engoron's clerk.

Oct 03, 5:46 PM EDT
Trump, following closed proceedings, says he'll be back Wednesday

Former President Trump told reporters he plans to return to court on Wednesday as he left the courtroom following a closed proceeding Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Arthur Engoron held multiple closed proceedings during the afternoon after issuing a warning to Trump to not post anything to social media about his staff.

Neither Trump nor New York Attorney General Letitia James answered questions about the nature of the closed sessions when they left the courthouse at the end of the day.

Earlier, Mazars accountant Donald Bender underwent a forceful cross examination by Trump lawyer Jesus Suarez. Mixing criticism of Bender with praise of Trump -- who Suarez described as "the leader of the free world" and "possibly even the 47th president of the United States" -- Suarez attempted to paint Blender as an incompetent accountant who "messed up" and landed Trump in court.

As part of his cross examination, Suarez questioned Bender about why he failed to raise concerns about Trump inaccurately overstating the size of his triplex apartment in Manhattan's Trump Tower.

"Do you think two thirds of his [triplex] disappearing is not something you should have said to the leader of the free world?" Suarez asked during a portion of his questioning that was so theatrical that it prompted occasional laughter in the courtroom.

Oct 03, 3:27 PM EDT
Judge admonishes Trump after he posts about clerk

As court resumed after the lunch break, Judge Engoron admonished Donald Trump for a post he made this afternoon on his Truth Social platform regarding Engoron's clerk, Alison Greenfield.

The post, which included a photo of Greenfield with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, made unsubstantiated claims about her connections with Schumer and falsely claimed that Greenfield is "running" the case against Trump.

Trump apparently made the post, which linked to Greenfield's Instagram account, while the former president was sitting in the courtroom.

"Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable and inappropriate," the judge said in his admonishment, adding that he ordered the post taken down.

Trump appears to have deleted the post, but the judge lamented that the sentiment was shared to millions.

The judge did not mention Trump by name but noted the post came from one of the defendants. He said his remarks should be taken as forbidding all parties from posting or speaking publicly about any member of his staff.

Greenfield sits at the bench to Engoron's immediate right and he is often seen conferring with her over legal and logistical matters.

-ABC News' Peter Charalambous, Aaron Katersky, Soo Rin Kim, Lalee Ibssa and Kendall Ross

Oct 03, 2:37 PM EDT
Trump says he's attending trial to 'expose' AG

Former President Donald Trump said he is attending his civil trial to "expose" New York Attorney General Letitia James, during an exchange with ABC News.

Asked by ABC News' Aaron Katersky why he was attending the trial even though he's not required to be there, Trump replied, "Because this trial is a rigged trial. It's a fraudulent trial."

"The attorney general is a fraud, and we have to expose her as that," Trump said after exiting the courtroom for the afternoon break. "You see what's going on. It's a rigged deal."

James has said of her probe, "No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law."

The statements from Trump follow the conclusion of the state's lengthy direct examination of longtime Mazars accountant Donald Bender, who testified about the procedures Mazars and the Trump Organization used to compile a central piece of evidence in the case -- Trump's statements of financial condition between 2011 and 2020.

Trump appeared attentive during the testimony, often studying the exhibits displayed on the court's screens -- including a recurring spreadsheet titled "Jeff Supporting Data" prepared by co-defendant and Trump Organization executive Jeffrey McConney, which contained the source information for the financial statements.

Bender testified about a specific red notation spelled "PBC" that appeared on the Excel file across multiple years. The notation -- indicating that the files were "Prepared By [the] Client" -- seemed to emphasize how much of the accounting was done by the Trump Organization rather than Mazars.

Testifying about letters of representation issued by the Trump Organization in support of the statements, Bender addressed specific language in the letter stating that the Trump Organization had included all the relevant records and data needed for the statements.

"We have not knowingly withheld from you any financial records or related data that in our judgment would be relevant to your compilation," the letter read.

But Bender testified that he later learned that meaningful information was indeed omitted -- information he said he learned in 2021 during meetings with prosecutors.

When asked repeatedly if Mazars would have issued the statements if they knew the Trump Organization had withheld information, Bender repeated that Mazars would not have issued the statements.

-ABC News' Aaron Katersky, Jack Feeley and Peter Charalambous

Oct 03, 12:49 PM EDT
Judge mixes focus, humor on the bench

Justice Arthur Engoron appears to be enjoying his time overseeing the trial today, including correcting the attorneys for the state on minor issues.

"The correct word is withdrawn, not strike," Engoron interjected at one point, after a state attorney attempted to "strike" the record so he could rephrase a statement.

Later, Engoron smiled and signaled a thumbs-up when the same attorney adjusted his language and "withdrew" his words from the record to rephrase.

The veteran justice, who has served on the bench in New York for more than 20 years, has a reputation as a reliable albeit unusual judge, according to past and former associates.

Oct 03, 12:19 PM EDT
Trump calls case a 'scam,' says he might testify

Exiting court during the break, Trump told reporters positioned nearby that the financial statements being reviewed in court included disclaimers, which his legal team has argued absolves him of wrongdoing.

"This case is a scam," Trump said during his walk back to court.

When asked if he would consider testifying, Trump said he might.

Oct 03, 12:14 PM EDT
Ex-accountant addresses 2012-2016 financial statements

An attorney with for the New York attorney general's office spent the first hour of direct examination methodically walking Mazars accountant Donald Bender through the Trump Organization's financial documents from 2012 through 2016.

As he addressed each document, Bender reiterated that the Trump Organization and its trustees were responsible for the accounting principles used in the records, the disclosures in reports, and the information from which the reports were based.

The state appears to be using Bender's testimony to not only get Trump's financials statements into evidence, but also to demonstrate the relatively consistent process the Trump Organization used to compile and finalize their statements of financial condition over a decade.

Oct 03, 10:48 AM EDT
Judge clarifies statute of limitations remarks

Justice Arthur Engoron, who was a frequent target of Trump's attacks yesterday, began the trial's second day by clarifying some of his closing remarks about the statute of limitations in the case.

After court yesterday, Trump construed his remarks as a victory, suggesting "80% of the cases is over" after leaving court on Monday.

Engoron apologized for his comments and stated that any future real estate deals "restart" the statute of limitations --- meaning that the attorney general's office needs to "connect the dots" to include the evidence about a 2011 deal discussed on Monday.

"I understand that the defendants strongly disagree on this and will appeal on this ground," Engoron said.

He concluded his remarks by reminding counsel not to relitigate issues already decided -- something that Trump's attorneys seemingly did on Day One of the trial.

"This trial is not an opportunity to relitigate what I have already decided ... that is why we have appeals," Engoron said.

Oct 03, 10:41 AM EDT
Trump again attacks AG on way into court

Former President Donald Trump continued his attacks on New York Attorney General Letitia James before entering the courtroom for the second day of his $250 million civil fraud trial in downtown Manhattan.

"She ran on the basis 'I will get Trump' without knowing anything about me," he said to reporters outside court.

Both Trump and James are present this morning in court, where state attorneys are set to continue their direct examination of longtime Mazars accountant Donald Bender.

Oct 03, 7:14 AM EDT
Trump expected in court for second day

Former President Donald Trump signaled he will be in court again Tuesday morning in a post on his social media platform.

"See you in Court Tuesday morning," Trump posted.

The former president then went on to attack New York Attorney General Letitia James. He claimed he had a “good day at trial” during Monday’s proceedings.

Oct 02, 6:15 PM EDT
First witness eyes Trump's decade-old financial statements

Testifying about the preparation of the Trump Organization's statements of financial condition in 2011, former Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender said Trump executives largely provided the input data for statements, in addition to dictating the standards by which the work was completed.

"We would cut and paste that information into a new worksheet," Bender said about the approach taken by Mazar after receiving new data from co-defendant Jeffrey McConney of the Trump Organization.

When asked about the compliance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles -- which Bender testified are the standards for accounting in the United States -- Bender repeatedly placed responsibility in the lap of the Trump organization.

"That was the Trump Organization's responsibility," Bender testified about GAAP compliance.

Bender acknowledged that he rarely questioned the inputs from the Trump Organization, and when he did, he largely dealt with McConney and executives other than Trump and his adult sons.

Repeatedly asked by the state attorney if Mazars would have issued the statements if they had known the Trump Organization included material misrepresentations in their data, Bender reiterated that Mazars would not have issued the statements.

When Judge Engoron remarked at the end of the trial day that the state would still need to present further evidence to prove that the 2011 statement was within the statute of limitations, Trump seized the statement as a partial victory.

"The last five minutes was outstanding, because the judge actually conceded that the statute of limitations … is in effect," Trump told reporters as he was leaving court.

Engoron, however, did not completely rule out the 2011 evidence during trial, instead appearing to remind counsel that they need to show the 2011 statement represents an ongoing concern that falls within the statute of limitations.

Testimony is scheduled to resume on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.

Oct 02, 3:50 PM EDT
Ex-accountant says statements were 'Trump Org's responsibility'

Prosecutors have called their first witness to the stand: Donald Bender, a former accountant at Mazars USA, the firm that for years handled Trump's taxes.

Bender testified at length about his involvement in compiling Trump's statements of financial condition between 2011 and 2020, which he described as "balance [sheets] of Mr. Trump's assets and liabilities."

Bender said the standards and inputs for the statements were largely decided by Trump Organization executives.

"That was the Trump Organization's responsibility," Bender said about the accounting standard used in the statements.

As Bender answered the state's questions, Trump was seen taking notes at the defense table.

Bender described spending roughly half his time on Trump's business and personal financial matters toward the end of his career at Mazars.

The firm severed its business relationship with Trump last year after learning of the attorney general's findings during the AG's probe.

Oct 02, 1:19 PM EDT
Trump attorney says sons made no misrepresentations

An attorney for Donald Trump's adult sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., added a brief opening statement of his own, defending his clients from accusations of wrongdoing.

"There was never a material misrepresentation made by Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr.," said Clifford Robert, the attorney for Trump's adult sons, who help run the Trump Organization.

Robert said he disagrees "with just about everything" the state's prosecutor said in his opening remarks, and took aim at the state's star witness.

"Their major linchpin is Michael Cohen, a guy who lies to everyone," Robert said of the former Trump attorney.

Lucien Bruggeman

Oct 02, 1:10 PM EDT
AG's case sets 'dangerous precedent,' defense says

Attorney General Letitia James "is setting a very dangerous precedent for any business in the state of New York," warned Trump attorney Alina Habba in her opening statement.

Habba told the court she hadn't planned to make opening remarks, but that she felt moved to speak after hearing the state present its own opening statement. Habba accused the attorney general of targeting Trump before taking office, claiming the investigation and lawsuit were personal in nature.

"We are attacking a sitting president and two of his children and his employees for a statement of financial condition which is frankly worth less than what they are worth," Habba said.

Habba reiterated many of the points made earlier by co-counsel Christopher Kise, highlighting the fact that "these lenders made money," and arguing that "real estate is malleable -- the values change."

After Habba concluded her remarks, Judge Engeron engaged her in a series of follow-up questions, asking about her claim that the property appraisals at issue were "undervalued" by prosecutors.

Habba replied that "the Trump brand is worth something."

Oct 02, 12:03 PM EDT
'The attorney general has no case,' defense counsel says

Former President Trump's defense counsel will present a "very different picture of the evidence" than the prosecution alleges, and will demonstrate that "there are many ways to value assets," according to opening remarks from Christopher Kise, Trump's lead attorney.

"We think the evidence is going to establish … President Trump has made billions of dollars building one of the most successful real estate empires in the world," Kise said, reiterating sentiments he conveyed in pretrial motions.

Kise offered a glimpse into the former president's defense, including plans to present testimony from a New York University professor who will explain that "there is no one generally accepted procedure to determine the estimated current value" of a property.

Other defense witnesses, including four Deutsche Bank officers who were involved in approving Trump's loans, will explain how they were able to craft their own independent risk analyses meant to mitigate the claims of fraud that are core to the state's case.

"Anyone committing fraud does not tell the other side, 'Please do your own analysis,'" Kise said regarding Trump's instructions to lenders.

Kise also previewed plans to undermine the state's key witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who Kise said has "lied to everyone and anyone he has come in contact with."

Kise reiterated the defense's claim that Trump did not commit fraud and that there were no victims of his alleged conduct.

"The attorney general has no case," Kise said.

Oct 02, 11:28 AM EDT
Defendants were 'lying year after year,' prosecutors say

Prosecutors intend to prove in the coming months that "each defendant engaged in repeated, persistent, illegal acts in conduct of business," according to the opening statement from Kevin Wallace of the attorney general's office.

Referring to Judge Engoron's partial summary judgment last week, Wallace said that "the people have already proven" that former President Trump used "false, misleading" statements that were "repeatedly [and] persistently used in the conduct of business."

But prosecutors will further demonstrate that Trump and his co-defendants knew those statements were false and continued to peddle them anyway in furtherance of their alleged scheme, Wallace told the judge.

"The defendants were lying year after year," he said.

Wallace played clips of video depositions to punctuate his remarks, including testimony from Trump himself, as well as Eric Trump and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen -- whose congressional testimony years ago precipitated the state's investigation and some of the key allegations underpinning their case.

"The goal was to use each of [Trump's] assets and increase its value in order to get to the end result number," Cohen said during his taped deposition. "It was essentially backing in numbers to each of the asset classes in order to attain the number that President Trump wanted."

Trump and his co-defendants "knew that a high net worth was necessary to get and maintain certain financial benefits," Wallace said, pointing to basic principles of accounting and finance.

Throughout Wallace's remarks, the attorney general's office flashed graphics on television screens inside the courtroom showing some of the alleged inflated values of Trump's properties alongside the amounts the properties were appraised at.

Seated in his chair with his arms crossed, Trump visibly shook his head at times during the prosecutor's opening statement. At one point he seemed to mutter something under his breath.

The former president whispered with his attorneys throughout.

Oct 02, 10:45 AM EDT
Opening statements underway

Opening statements are underway in former President Trump's $250 million fraud trial.

Trump is seated between his attorneys Clifford Robert, Alina Habba and Christopher Kise.

Trump and his co-defendants face a bench trial, meaning that the sole arbiter of the case is Judge Arthur Engoron instead of a jury.

Oct 02, 10:19 AM EDT
Trump seated in courtroom

Former President Trump has taken a seat in the courtroom for the start of the trial.

"The crime is against me," he told reporters outside the courtroom before he made his way inside.

He denounced the case in now-familiar terms, criticizing state Attorney General Letitia James as she sat inside the courtroom.

Trump also accused Judge Arthur Engoron of failing to account for the full value of his real estate portfolio, asserting his Mar-a-Lago estate is worth "50 to 100 times more" than the judge's decision for partial summary judgment said last week.

"We have other properties, the same thing. So he devalued everything," Trump said. "We have among the greatest properties in the world. and I have to go through this for political reasons."

Engoron decided Trump's statements of financial condition were fraudulent, but Trump said, "We have a clause in the contract that says, essentially, buyer beware."

Oct 02, 10:09 AM EDT
Trump calls trial 'political witch hunt'

Former President Trump, speaking to reporters on his arrival at the lower Manhattan courthouse, said the trial is a witch hunt resulting from his standing in the presidential polls.

"This is a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt of all time," he told reporters outside the courtroom.

Trump said he is innocent of the accusations and that his portfolio has a much higher value than what the attorney general alleges.

Oct 02, 9:59 AM EDT
Trump attorneys call trial 'election interference'

Members of Donald Trump's legal team, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse prior to the start of the trial, called the fraud allegations against the former president "election interference."

Trump's attorneys said that Democrats were using the case to fight Trump's efforts to retake the White House in 2024.

Oct 02, 9:43 AM EDT
Attorney general arrives at courthouse

New York Attorney General Letitia James has arrived at the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

"No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law," James said to the cameras before entering the courthouse.

"Today we will prove our case in court," she said. "Justice will prevail."

Demonstrators across the street from the courthouse cheered and applauded as the AG arrived.

Oct 02, 8:19 AM EDT
NY attorney general releases statement on 1st day of trial

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement on Monday just hours before the first day of trial in her fraud case against former President Donald Trump.

"For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system," James said. "We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial."

"No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country," she added. "The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does."

Oct 02, 8:14 AM EDT
Trial scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET

The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, et al, is scheduled to get underway in lower Manhattan at 10 a.m. with opening statements.

If opening statements are completed before the end of the day, the New York attorney general plans to begin her case by calling Trump's former Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender to the stand.

Mazars severed its business relationship with the former president last year after learning of the attorney general's findings during the AG's probe.

Oct 02, 7:10 AM EDT
Judge has already found that Trump overvalued his assets

Though Trump has denied all wrongdoing alleged by the attorney general, Judge Arthur Engoron has already decided the central allegation against Trump and his co-defendants, ruling in a pretrial hearing last week that the AG had provided "conclusive evidence" that Trump overvalued his assets between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

The judge then canceled the Trump Organization's business certificates in New York, severely restricting Trump's ability to conduct business in the state moving forward -- a move that Trump attorney Alina Habba called "nonsensical" and "outrageously overreaching."

"In defendants' world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air," Engoron wrote, citing multiple arguments made by defense to justify the allegedly inflated valuations of Trump's assets. "That is a fantasy world, not the real world."

Among the issues still to be determined at trial: What additional penalties Trump might face, and what might happen with the multiple causes of action included in the attorney general's suit.

Oct 02, 6:43 AM EDT
Trump blasts judge ahead of trial

Former President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the judge overseeing and deciding his case, writing on Truth Social overnight that Justice Arthur Engoron should resign and be sanctioned for "abuse of power."

Similar to his earlier post, Trump focused on the alleged inflated value of Mar-a-Lago, in addition to an appellate decision that his lawyers unsuccessfully tried to use to limit the timeframe of the case.

Oct 02, 6:39 AM EDT
Trump says he will attend trial's opening

Former President Trump posted on his Truth Social platform Sunday night that he intends to attend the opening of the trial.

"See you in court -- Monday morning," he wrote in a post.

Earlier Sunday, multiple sources familiar with the decision told ABC News that Trump was expecting to attend.

Trump will have no speaking role in court on Monday, but it is anticipated that he'll return to the courthouse toward the end of the state's case when court records show he will be called as a witness.

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4 students among 5 shot at Morgan State University in Baltimore, police searching for suspect

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(BALTIMORE) -- Four students were among five people shot during Homecoming week at Morgan State University in Baltimore, police said.

The victims -- four men and one woman, between 18 and 22 years old -- all suffered non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

The gunfire broke out Tuesday night "on campus within the vicinity of the Murphy Fine Arts Center and Thurgood Marshall Hall," according to David Wilson, the president of the historically black university.

"It looks like a dispute between two smaller groups, and one individual was a target of two individuals who had weapons," Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said.

None of the five people shot were the intended target, he said.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott added that it didn't appear that the shooting was racially motivated.

Christian Gatlin, a 20-year-old junior, was on the second floor of the student center when he heard what he thought was fireworks, but now assumes was a "faint gunshot."

"We just saw people running," Gatlin told ABC News. "It was just chaotic."

"Everybody just starting screaming and alerting people next to them that there was an active shooter and to brace ourselves," student Shawn Pollard said.

Freshman Anaiah Pamplin said she was sitting in the cafeteria when she heard four pops.

"It didn't really register at first until I saw people duck and run. Then I ran to the back of the cafeteria," she said. "I was just in shock."

Just before midnight, police said on social media that the incident was no longer being considered an active shooter situation. Half an hour later, Morgan State University said the shelter-in-place order on campus had been lifted.

No arrests have been made.

"They cleared every single floor twice," Worley said. "After that, when we realized the campus is most likely safe, and we opened it back up because the shooter was nowhere around that we could find."

Freshman James Fitzgerald was doing math homework in his dorm when the school went on lockdown.

"When the SWAT [officers] came at my door, you don't know if that was the shooter or not. So when I saw the flashlight, that really scared me," he said. "I just prayed."

"It was terrifying because I'm away from home," student Irmani-Maure Beauvais said.

The mayor said, "The entire city of Baltimore's heart aches for the Morgan community, for these victims and their families and for our city as a whole."

He called for "national action, especially from Congress."

Morgan State said classes are canceled Wednesday out of an abundance of caution.

This week is Morgan State's Homecoming. Wilson said he had just left the coronation of Mr. & Ms. Morgan State University when he learned of the shooting.

"I am convening a meeting with my Executive Cabinet this morning to rethink the rest of Homecoming activities this week and will inform the university community of our decision later this afternoon," he said in a letter to the school community on Wednesday.

"Our prayers are with our students who suffered injuries, and their loved ones. For those students in need of assistance, our dedicated staff from the Division of Student Affairs and the University Counseling Center are available to provide support," he added.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Wednesday's briefing, "Morgan State is in our hearts today and we'll continue to do everything we can to provide the support needed as the community recovers from this horrific shooting."

"As a search remains underway for the shooter, we urge everyone on campus and in the community to heed the guidance of safety officials," Jean-Pierre said.

She stressed that this shooting further proves why the White House's new Office of Gun Violence Prevention is necessary. She also said the White House is in touch with the university president, the Baltimore mayor and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore.

ABC News' Emily Shapiro, Lauren Minore, Luke Barr, Tia Humphries and Chris Boccia contributed to this report.

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Costco now sells gold bars, and customers are buying them fast

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(NEW YORK) -- Costco, the wholesale retailer that offers everything from PlayStations to pizza slices, is now selling gold bars.

Even more, the precious metal is flying off the shelves, a company executive says.

The company's website says the price of the one-ounce bars of 24-karat gold can only be viewed by Costco members, who pay between $60 and $120 per year for a subscription. Each member is limited to purchasing no more than two bars.

An ABC News employee who is a Costco member was offered a purchase price of $1,929.99 on Wednesday morning. However, when attempting to move forward with the purchase, they received an error message saying, "Product Not Available!" The company's website also indicated that the product was unavailable in multiple states.

On an earnings call last week, Costco Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard Gallanti said the gold bars have been a hit with customers.

"When we load them on the site, they're typically gone within a few hours," Gallanti said.

An index for the price of gold has risen about 5% since a year ago, but has fallen from a peak reached in May.

Typically, traders treat gold as a safe-haven investment if they're seeking a stable store of value that can withstand market turmoil.

In recent months, resilient economic performance has elicited a surge of optimism about the possibility that the U.S. can reduce inflation without falling into a recession.

In July, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank's staff had abandoned its forecast of a downturn. In other words, staff at the Fed now expect the central bank to achieve a "soft landing."

Still, the economy faces other looming threats, such as a spike in crude oil prices and an ongoing strike among autoworkers.

Costco members may want to consider carefully before purchasing a gold bar. The company's website notes that the item is non-refundable.

ABC News' Mary Kekatos contributed to this story.


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Ozone hole over Antarctica grows to one of the largest on record, scientists say

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(NEW YORK) -- The annual ozone hole that forms over Antarctica has ballooned to near-record size, scientists say.

Measurements from satellite imaging taken on Sept. 16 showed that the ozone depletion area had reached 26 million square kilometers -- roughly three times the size of Brazil, according to Copernicus, the European Union's Earth observation program.

Every year, an ozone hole forms over the Antarctic due to the presence of ozone-depleting substances in the stratosphere and the specific conditions of the region, according to Copernicus.

The size of the ozone fluctuates from August to October, typically reaching maximum depletion between mid-September and and mid-October.

This year, the ozone hole got off to an early start and has grown "rapidly" since mid-August, "making it one of the biggest ozone holes on record," Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service senior scientist Antje Inness said in a statement.

The size of the ozone hole is largely determined by the strength of a strong wind band that flows around the Antarctic area, a result of the rotation of the Earth and the oppositional temperature differences between polar and moderate latitudes.

Ozone levels usually return to normal by mid-December, after temperatures high up in the stratosphere rise in the southern hemisphere, slowing the ozone depletion and weakening the polar vortex, according to Copernicus.

A report released by the United Nations Environment Programme in January found that the ozone layer was on track to recover within decades.

There is some speculation that the unusual behavior of the ozone layer in 2023 is a result of the Tongan underwater volcano eruption in January 2022.

The immense amount of water vapor that was injected into the atmosphere likely just started reaching the south polar region after the end of the 2022 ozone hole, Antje said.

The water vapor could have led to a heightened formation of polar stratospheric clouds, allowing chlorofluorocarbons to react and accelerate ozone depletion.

The impact of the widespread use of damaging chlorofluorocarbons in products such as refrigerators and aerosol tins in the 1970s and 1980s led to the depletion of the ozone high in the atmosphere, allowing for the ozone layer above Antarctica to open up, according to Copernicus.

The Montreal Protocol, a universally ratified United Nations treaty that went into effect in 1989, phased out the production of ozone-depleting substances, including CFCs.

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delayed plans to tighten ozone pollution standards until after the 2024 presidential election.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

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El Chapo's sons purportedly ban fentanyl in Mexico's Sinaloa state

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(MEXICO CITY) -- Roadside banners prohibiting the production and sale of fentanyl have appeared in Mexico's northern state of Sinaloa, where the eponymous drug cartel is based.

The machine-printed banners were purportedly signed by a faction of the Sinaloa cartel led by the sons of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The sons are known as "Los Chapitos" after their infamous father, who was extradited in 2017 to the United States where he is currently serving a life sentence. They have since taken over their father's criminal empire.

"In Sinaloa, the sale, manufacture, transport or any other business dealing with fentanyl, is strictly prohibited, including the sale of chemicals used to produce it," the banners read. "You have been warned. Respectfully, Los Chapitos."

Mexican authorities have not confirmed the authenticity of the banners and ABC News was unable to verify that they were in fact issued by Los Chapitos. But sources in the region said the banners are legitimate.

If the banners are real, it does not mean the Sinaloa cartel's Chapitos network will suddenly cease its fentanyl operations and shipments. That portion of the business brings in incredible amounts of cash and there are many thousands of people involved in the trade across multiple countries, so a fentanyl ban would be complex and take time to unwind.

Even if the cartel were to stop its production and sale of fentanyl in Sinaloa, those operations could continue in many other Mexican states where the cartel has a presence.

Fentanyl has become a top priority in the bilateral security relationship between Mexico and the United States, after the powerful synthetic opioid caused tens of thousands of overdose deaths among Americans this year alone.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is offering $10 million rewards for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of two of El Chapo's fugitive sons, who have also been added to the agency's 10 most-wanted list.

The Sinaloa cartel leadership, including El Chapo's sons, are keenly aware of the optics and political pressure surrounding fentanyl, according to sources in the region familiar with the cartel’s thinking. The heat that the U.S. is putting on Mexico to address the issue, in turn, gets passed on to the cartel in the way of raids and arrests, which is not good for business.

While fentanyl is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat severe pain, it is the leading driver of drug overdose deaths in the country. Out of an estimated 109,680 overdose deaths that occurred nationwide last year, about 75,000 were linked to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only time will tell what effect -- if any -- the banners will have in both Mexico and the U.S.


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Advocate stabbed to death in New York City in 'unthinkable' attack


(NEW YORK) -- Police said they are seeking a suspect in the murder of a man who was stabbed multiple times near a bus stop in New York City early Monday in an "unthinkable" attack.

The incident occurred in Brooklyn shortly before 4 a.m., according to police. Ryan Carson, 32, a well-known social justice advocate, died after being stabbed in the chest, police said.

Carson and his girlfriend were coming home from a wedding when the apparently unprovoked attack occurred, ABC New York station WABC-TV reported.

The NYPD released a photo Tuesday of an unidentified male suspect being sought in the murder. No arrests have been made at this time, a police spokesperson said Tuesday night.

Carson was a longtime campaign organizer for the New York Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan political organization, focusing on waste policy. He also created the campaign No OD NY, which raised awareness for overdose prevention centers.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams called his murder "unthinkable," and vowed that the NYPD "won't rest until we bring him to justice."

"He advocated tirelessly for others, and his giving spirit was a buoy to all," Adams said on social media on Tuesday. "I'm praying for all who knew and loved Ryan."

Carson started working for NYPIRG while a student at Pratt Institute, the organization said.

"Ryan was a beloved staffer, colleague and friend, and a creative, talented, relentless and upbeat advocate for students and the environment," NYPIRG said in a statement. "His engaging personality, hearty laugh and wide-ranging intelligence were keys to his success in advancing the causes he deeply cared about in his work and personal life.

He was remembered as a passionate social justice advocate by friends, colleagues and New York politicians, who expressed shock at his death.

"It's incredibly tragic," NYPIRG executive director Blair Horner told WABC. " A life full of promise is snuffed out. And the world is a worse place for it."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Carson was a "rising talent and an extraordinary activist."

"Ryan Carson threw himself into everything he did with passion and humanity," Schumer said on social media on Tuesday. "May his memory and work inspire us."

New York state Sen. Julia Salazar responded to the "shocking, horrific" news of his death.

"I learned a lot from Ryan in a short time," she said on social media on Tuesday. "I'm better for having known him, as so many of us are. Let us dedicate ourselves to continuing his life's work, cut short far too soon: to harm reduction; to humane drug policy; to creating a more caring society for all of us."

New York State Assemblymember Emily Gallagher remembered Carson as an "accomplished poet" and "deep, sensitive thinker" who was devoted to environmental advocacy.

"Ryan was the kindest, funniest, and hardest working man in advocacy," Gallagher said on social media on Monday. "He and I bonded because our friends died in the opioid epidemic, & we struggled to make good out of our grief. He put his whole heart into making the world a safer place for all people."


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Second Giuliani attorney leaving his legal team in Georgia

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(NEW YORK) -- A second lawyer for Rudy Giuliani is seeking to depart his legal team in Georgia, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News, a move that would appear to leave the former mayor without any local lawyers in the state.

A motion to withdraw has been submitted to the clerk, the sources said. A judge in the case has to sign off on the motion.

News of the move comes after several other former attorneys of the Trump ally have sued Giuliani for failure to pay his bills, including his longtime friend and attorney Bob Costello, who sued the former New York City mayor for over $1 million in payments due to his firm.

Earlier, an additional lawyer for Giuliani in Georgia, David Wolfe, submitted his own motion to withdraw from his representation of Giuliani.

Sources close to Giuliani say the former New York City mayor is close to retaining new local representation.

Giuliani, along with former President Donald Trump and 17 others have pleaded not guilty to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.

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One dead after crane falls on them at construction site in industrial accident

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(NEW YORK) -- A person trapped under a crane has died after the device fell on top of them during an industrial accident in Florida, authorities said.

The accident happened at approximately 3:16 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon at a construction site on Heather Moss Drive, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

"A crane at a construction site overturned and fell down an embankment," authorities said. "One person was transported to the hospital, where they later died."

Officials said they believe the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating the industrial accident and what caused it, according to a post on social media from Orange County Fire and Rescue.

Approximately 50 gallons of hydraulic fluid spilled on the site from the felled crane.

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Bodies of mother bear and her two cubs found dumped on state land leads to arrest

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(NEW YORK) -- A man has been arrested after a mother bear and her two cubs were shot and killed before their bodies were dumped on state land, authorities said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife began investigating the incident after reports on social media and anonymous tips began coming which led them to the bodies of the three bears near a home in Howard, Colorado, on Monday, Sept. 25, according to a statement published on Tuesday.

“The CPW investigation led Wildlife Officers to obtain a search warrant on Saturday for a home near Howard where they found evidence the bears had been shot there early on Monday, Sept. 25,” according to CPW.

CPW officers subsequently executed a search and arrest warrant for 52-year-old Paul Stromberg on “assorted wildlife charges including a felony count of illegal destruction of wildlife and several misdemeanors including unlawful killing of wildlife without a license, unlawful possession and waste of game meat,” CPW said.

Stromberg was arrested and taken to Fremont County Jail where he was later released on $10,000 bond pending formal charges.

If convicted, Stromberg could face fines and surcharges ranging from $750 to $13,000 and up to six months in jail.

“Anyone illegally injuring or killing wildlife could face misdemeanor charges including harassment of wildlife, hunting big game without a license, illegal taking of wildlife and reckless endangerment among other charges,” CPW said.

The investigation into the case is currently ongoing and CPW says that they will have no further comment while charges are pending against Stromberg.

Rewards are available if the information leads to an arrest or citation and anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact CPW at its Salida office at 719-530-5520.

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Lawsuit: Man claims he was falsely arrested because of misuse of facial recognition technology

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(NEW YORK) -- A Black man was wrongfully arrested and held for nearly a week in jail because of the alleged misuse of facial recognition technology, according to a civil lawsuit filed against the arresting police officers.

Randal Quran Reid, 29, was driving to his mother's home outside of Atlanta the day after Thanksgiving when police pulled him over, according to Reid.

"They told me that I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I asked, 'Where's Jefferson Parish?' because I had never heard of that county," Reid told ABC News. "And then they told me it was in Louisiana. Then I was confused because I had never been to Louisiana."

The DeKalb County police officers who pulled Reid over were in possession of two warrants issued by Jefferson and East Baton Rouge Parishes in Louisiana for Reid's arrest, according to a lawsuit filed by Reid for an unspecified amount. He was then taken to a DeKalb County jail to await extradition to Louisiana, according to Reid.

"I asked them why was I being locked up," Reid said. "'What is it [the warrant] even saying that I did?' And then they just kept telling me that it was out of their jurisdiction and they didn't really know."

Officers of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office used facial recognition technology to identify Reid as a suspect who was wanted for using stolen credit cards to buy approximately $15,000 worth of designer purses in Jefferson and East Baton Rouge Parishes, according to the complaint filed by Reid.

"[The facial recognition technology] spit out three names: Quran plus two individuals," Gary Andrews, Reid's lawyer and senior attorney at The Cochran Firm in Atlanta, told ABC News. "It is our belief that the detective in this case took those names … and just sought arrest warrants without doing any other investigation, without doing anything else to determine whether or not Quran was actually the individual that was in the store video."

The individuals named as defendants in the complaint are Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (JPSO) deputy Andrew Bartholomew and JPSO Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III.

Bartholomew did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment. Lopinto told ABC News, "The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office cannot make a statement at this time because the case is currently in litigation."

Every state in the country has police departments that use facial recognition technology in their investigative work, according to Nate Freed Wessler, deputy director of the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU doesn't have an exact count of how many police departments use the technology because many of them use it in secrecy, according to Wessler.

"Part of the problem with this technology is that the public lacks good information about how it's actually being used," Wessler told ABC News. "It's often used in tremendous secrecy by police. And we know that it often misidentifies people, which has led to wrongful arrests in six known cases [around the country] but probably more cases than that."

According to Wessler, all known cases of false arrests due to facial recognition technology were of Black or African-American people.

Reid was held in a DeKalb County prison for six days as his parents and lawyers scrambled to find a way to clear his name before his extradition to Louisiana, Reid said. After his lawyers sent multiple pictures of Reid to JPSO for them to realize that they had the wrong person in detainment, his warrants were thrown out and he was finally released, Andrews told ABC News.

According to the complaint, Reid's lawyers believe that JPSO uses facial recognition technology by Clearview AI, Inc.

"More than one million searches have been conducted using Clearview AI. One false arrest is one too many, and we have tremendous empathy for the person who was wrongfully accused," Hoan Ton-That, Clearview AI CEO, told ABC News in a statement. "Even if Clearview AI came up with the initial result, that is the beginning of the investigation by law enforcement to determine, based on other factors, whether the correct person has been identified."

Clearview AI would not confirm with ABC News if JPSO uses its technology.

"There's always risk when you go to jail, but I felt more in danger when I was being detained because I know it was for something I didn't do," Reid said. "I lost faith in the justice system to know that you could be locked up for something that you've never done."

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Defense attorney claims 'wrong man' on trial in slayings of New Hampshire couple

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(CONCORD, N.H.) -- The trial of a 27-year-old drifter charged with fatally shooting a retired couple on a New Hampshire hiking trail began Tuesday with a prosecutor telling a jury that evidence will show that "he alone" is guilty of the grisly slayings, and a defense attorney countering police "got the wrong man."

Logan Clegg is accused of murder and other crimes stemming from the 2022 killings of retired international humanitarian workers Stephen Reid, 67, and his wife Djeswende "Wendy" Reid, 66. The couple was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on April 21, 2022, two days after they went for an afternoon walk on the Marsh Loop Trail, part of the Broken Ground Trails system, near their apartment in Concord, New Hampshire.

Clegg was arrested in Vermont about six months after the killings as he was about to fly to Germany using a phony Romanian passport, according to prosecutors.

He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, destroying and concealing evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty.

A jury of nine women and seven men was selected on Monday to hear the case in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord.

In an opening statement, Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Meghan Hagaman told the panel the evidence will show beyond reasonable doubt that Clegg repeatedly shot the couple, whom he did not know, for no apparent reason, saying, "motive is not an element of the crimes charged."

"After the murders, Clegg dragged their bodies into the woods, covered them in layers of leaves, debris and sticks, and after he murdered them, he ran and he hid," Hagaman told the jury. "Despite his efforts to conceal the murders and his tracks, investigators uncovered them, and when he couldn't run or hide anymore, he lied."

She said Concord police investigators worked tirelessly on the case to identify Clegg as the alleged assailant in the crime, combing through hours of surveillance video from stores near the Marsh Loop Trail and sales receipts of items found at a campsite near the trail to place Clegg at the murder scene on day the Reids were killed.

"The defendant is the one and only person who is responsible for the murders of Stephen and Wendy," Hagaman said.

She said detectives initially questioned Clegg, whom they encountered while canvassing the Marsh Loop Trail after Stephen Reids' sister reported him and his wife missing on April 20, 2022, a day before their bodies were discovered.

Hagaman said Clegg used a fake name, Arthur Kelly, to identify himself to detectives looking for the Reids and claimed he had not seen them in the area.

The prosecutor said that after talking to the detectives, Clegg burned his campsite and fled the area, traveling to Boston and then to Burlington, Vermont, where he was arrested in October 2022 on a fugitive warrant. She said at the time of his arrest, Clegg had a backpack containing $7,000 cash and a 9mm handgun that ballistic tests determined matched shell casings found at Clegg's campsite along the Marsh Loop Trail and bullet fragments at the murder scene.

But Clegg's attorney, Caroline Smith, a New Hampshire public defender, told the jury in her opening statement that none of the prosecution's evidence connects Clegg to the killings.

"The wrong man has been charged," Smith said. "He had no connection to the Reids, he had no contact with the Reids and he did not murder the Reids."

Smith said the only reason Clegg used a phony name to identify himself to detectives was because he was wanted for a parole violation in Utah, where he had been convicted in 2020 for burglary.

"The police were right to investigate him -- he lived alone in a tent, he did have a gun and he did lie, but he moved around to try and hide his identity from the Concord police," Smith said. "He was hiding from a probation violation out of Utah."

She said Clegg immediately left Concord after police searching for the Reids spoke to him on the Marsh Loop Trail because "he did not want to be found, not because of a murder, but because of a probation violation."

Smith said the ballistic evidence prosecutors plan to present during the trial does not definitively match shell casings and bullet fragments found at the crime scene to the gun Clegg had in his position when he was arrested, and that no DNA evidence connects Clegg to the slayings. She said the $7,000 Clegg had on him at the time he was caught was money he had saved from working at a store in Burlington.

Smith said the evidence will show that police didn't find the shell casings at the crime scene until weeks after the Reids' bodies were discovered, despite scanning the area with metal detectors. She suggested the real killer placed the shell casings at the crime scene after police had cleared the area and it was reopened to the public.

"The evidence of the shootings says it's not Logan," Smith said." Logan's actions raised the suspicions. "It is the evidence that gives you the answer here, and the evidence shows they got the wrong man."

The trial is scheduled to last up to three weeks.

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Suspect in kidnapping of 9-year-old Charlotte Sena in upstate New York identified

Saratoga County Jail

(NEW YORK) -- A 47-year-old man charged with kidnapping 9-year-old Charlotte Sena at an upstate New York park and allegedly holding her in the cabinet of a camper he lived in next to his mother's home has been identified by authorities.

Craig N. Ross Jr. is being held without bail Tuesday morning at the Saratoga County Correctional Facility on a charge of first-degree kidnapping, according to jail officials.

Charlotte was abducted from the Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County, New York, on Saturday evening, according to New York State Police. She disappeared around dinnertime on Saturday, while out riding her bike in the campground alone, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

The girl's family and other campers went looking for her. Charlotte's mother found her bike around 6:45 p.m. Saturday and called 911, police said.

In an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, State Police Col. Richard Allen denied some media reports that Charlotte's bike was found in a ditch. He said the bike was recovered with its kickstand down.

An Amber Alert was issued for the missing child Saturday night and an intense search involving up to 400 local, state and federal law enforcement officers and firefighters was conducted at the sprawling park.

Hochul said at a Monday night news conference that the big break in the three-day search for the missing girl came early Monday morning, apparently from the suspect himself. At 4:20 a.m. a car pulled up to the Sena family's home and what turned out to be a ransom note was left in the mailbox, Hochul said.

"He literally drove up to the family's mailbox, assuming they were not home, 4:20 in the morning, opens the mailbox and inserts the ransom note, leaving a critical piece of evidence behind – his own fingerprint," Hochul said.

State police had been guarding the home while Charlotte's parents, David and Trisha Sena, were still at the campsite, Allen told ABC News on Tuesday. He said "people were stopping all night" at the house and the troopers assumed it was just a regular person dropping off items.

Using technology and detective work, investigators found a fingerprint on the ransom note and linked the note to a DWI arrest of Ross in 1999 in Saratoga, New York.

Hochal said a vehicle registered to Ross led investigators to a double-wide house in Ballston Spa, New York, where the suspect's mother lives. Investigators learned Ross was staying in a camper behind the residence.

Allen said members of the State Police Special Operations Response Team and an FBI Regional SWAT team were assembled near the Ballston Spa home.

Allen said about 20 SPOR and FBI SWAT team members made what he described as a "dynamic entry" to the camper behind the house and took Ross into custody.

"[Ross] did give our SWAT people some resistance in there," Allen said. "He did suffer some very minor injuries."

Allen told ABC News Tuesday that Charlotte was found in a small closet space in the camper's bedroom.

"She was very emotional when she saw officers," Allen said.

The fourth-grader was in "good health" when she was rescued, according to police.

Allen said Charlotte was not wearing the same clothes she had on when she disappeared. He said she was dressed in an adult-size sweatshirt when she was found.

Allen said investigators briefly spoke to Ross following his arrest, but the interview was cut short when he requested a lawyer.

He said police interviewed the suspect's mother, who was in her residence at the time of the raid. He said the mother seemed to be in shock.

Allen said Ross was not registered as a camper at Moreau Lake State Park, explaining that at this time of the year, visitors can come in and out of the park without registering. Allen said it remains unclear if the suspect had a vehicle inside the park or outside the park.

Authorities notified Charlotte's parents at 6:32 p.m. ET Tuesday that their daughter had been rescued.

Hochul said the home where Ross was arrested is about 2 miles from the Sena residence, but it is not known at this time whether he knew Charlotte or had her under surveillance for any length of time.

Allen said Tuesday that investigators have yet to find any connection between Ross and Charlotte's family.

"We are thrilled that she is home and we understand that the outcome is not what every family gets. A huge thank you to the FBI, the New York State Police, all of the agencies that were mobilized all of the families, friends, volunteers," the Sena family said in a statement.

Ross has been charged with kidnapping in the first degree, an A-1 felony.

Following his arrest, Ross was questioned at the New York State Police barracks in Latham, New York, and then arraigned at the Milton Town Court. Details of the suspect's interrogation were not released.

Ross was appointed a public defender. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 17.

Additional charges are anticipated, officials said.

Hochul said the investigation is still active and more search warrants were being executed.

"We want to make sure that [Ross] is not connected to any other cases. So, that's why it's still an ongoing investigation."

Allen told ABC News Tuesday that investigators have not linked Ross to any other crimes.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds and Stephanie Ramos contributed to this story.

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11-year-old allegedly shoots 13-year-olds during dispute at football practice: Police


(APOPKA, Fla.) -- An 11-year-old boy has been arrested for allegedly shooting two 13-year-olds during an altercation at their football practice, authorities in Florida said.

The incident took place around 8:20 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of a recreation center football field in Apopka, which is about 20 miles outside of Orlando, police said.

The 11-year-old allegedly took a handgun from his mom's car and then fired one shot that hit both teens, according to Apopka police.

One 13-year-old was shot in the torso and underwent surgery, and was listed in stable condition, Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley said at a news conference Tuesday.

The second 13-year-old was struck in the arm and released from the hospital, McKinley said.

The suspects and the victims were "engaged in a physical altercation prior to the shooting," and it appears the victims "were the aggressors," the arrest report said.

One witness told police the fight started over a bag of chips, and another witness said he saw one victim slap the suspect in the face, according to the arrest report.

Video showed "Victim 1" chasing the 11-year-old boy as he ran toward his mom's car, the arrest report said.

By the time the suspect grabbed the gun from the car, Victim 1 was already walking away, according to the arrest report.

The 11-year-old allegedly ran toward Victim 1 and fired one shot toward Victim 1's back, hitting both teens with the single bullet, the report said.

The suspect was about 6 to 8 feet from Victim 1 when he fired the shot, the report said.

The 11-year-old has been arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, the police chief said, adding that "additional charges are probably pending against some adults."

The suspect's mom told police she kept the small 9 mm purple handgun with live ammunition in a gun box under her car's front passenger seat, according to the arrest report. The mom told police her son knew the gun was in the car, "but she had told him prior not to handle the gun and that the gun was for her protection," the report said.

"We shouldn't have 11-year-olds that have access to guns and think they can resolve a dispute with a firearm," McKinley said.

Robert Mandell, an attorney for the 11-year-old's family, called the incident a "true tragedy for everybody."

"There has to be a better way to address situations like this than keeping an 11-year-old in jail," Mandell said Wednesday, noting that, until now, the boy hadn't "spent a night away from his mother in his whole life."

"All he's saying is, 'I want to go home,'" Mandell said.

He stressed that the shooting stemmed from bullying.

"Bullying needs to be addressed," he said. "It needs to start at home, and things like this can be prevented."

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How Ohio's overhaul of K-12 schooling became a flashpoint

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio's K-12 education system has become the center of a legal battle between lawmakers and members of the State Board of Education.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine passed HB 33 in July as part of the state's budget bill. The policy would transfer much of the power from the Board of Education, which includes publicly elected officials, to a governor-appointed director who would then appoint deputy directors.

Seven board members filed a lawsuit in September against its enforcement scheduled for Tuesday, prompting a preliminary injunction from a judge who called the transfer of power "unconstitutional."

What the transfer of power would mean

The powers of the State Board of Education and the superintendent include adopting or developing standards for education and operations, issuing and revoking state charters, establishing or administering programs regarding scholarships, oversight, student achievement, and more.

When DeWine passed HB 33, the Ohio Department of Education would be renamed the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce and would become a cabinet-level office led by governor appointees who would take over the duties of the board of education -- some of whom are publicly elected.

According to the Department of Education, this new agency will be responsible for primary, secondary, special, and career-technical education in Ohio.

"The current powers and duties of the State Board of Education will be divided between the State Board of Education and Department of Education and Workforce," read a July statement from the Department of Education.

It continued, "But we want to assure you the members of the State Board and Department staff remain committed to student success and will continue to be available to support students, families, educators, schools and districts."

The state board would retain power over hiring the superintendent, educator licenses, handling misconduct complaints, administering teacher and counselor evaluation systems, school district territory transfer disputes, overseeing the Teacher of the Year Program, and providing support to the Educator Standards board.

The Department of Education and Workforce will be responsible for the rest of the board's former duties, according to the agency.

Controversy over the law

The original bill that this policy was a part of was held up in a House committee after being passed by the Senate.

In June, the Ohio Senate inserted a passage of the unpassed bill into a budget bill during a "last-minute conference committee" shortly before an impending deadline in which the budget bill needed to be passed, according to the complaint filed against the policy.

The passage, dubbed the "Education Takeover Rider" is more than 1,300 pages long and "was barely considered by the General Assembly" before it was passed on the last day of the fiscal year, board of education members say in their complaint against the passage.

The judge who issued the preliminary injunction said the "Education Takeover Rider" breaks several constitutional requirements for the passing of laws: bills must not contain more than one subject, must be considered by each house on three different days, and essentially eliminates the constitutionally created board.

"Nearly 70 years ago, the citizens of Ohio ratified a constitutional amendment that placed oversight and governance of Ohio's education system in the hands of the newly created State Board of Education," the lawsuit read.

"For more than half a century, the Board has operated as an independent body that is responsive and accountable to the Ohioans whose interests the Board's members represent," the lawsuit continued.

The plaintiffs also argued that the policy strips parents "of their voices in their children's education and their rights to vote for and elect Board members who are authorized to perform substantive duties and responsibilities related to education policy for the betterment of their children's education."

ABC News has reached out to DeWine for comment.

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Two children dead, one hospitalized after falling into pool at San Jose day care: Police

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(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Two children died and a third was hospitalized after they fell into a pool while at a day care in San Jose Monday, investigators said.

Police and fire department officials responded to the day care for a welfare check around 9:05 a.m., according to the San Jose Police Department.

The police were told that "several juveniles had fallen into a pool," the SJPD said.

Three children were rushed to local hospitals in critical condition, police said. Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the hospital while the condition of the third child was upgraded to "non-life threatening," according to police.

Police remained at the scene of the day care for the remainder of the day.

"Per county protocol for all child deaths, the SJPD Homicide Unit in conjunction with Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will be conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances of the incident," the police said in a statement.

The day care was licensed in January 2021 for up to eight children and the pool was noted as an "off-limits" area in the license, according to ABC San Francisco station KGO. In 2021, the day care was instructed to adjust the pool fence, KGO said.

During the most recent visit last month, the day care was cited for not documenting safe sleep checks every 15 minutes, KGO reported.


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