Former US President Donald Trump and his family business are on trial in New York on civil fraud charges, in a case that could have major implications for Trump’s financial future.
The trial began on October 2, 2023, and is expected to last for several weeks. New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit in 2019, alleging that Trump and his company engaged in a years-long scheme to inflate the value of their assets in order to obtain loans and insurance coverage.
James has presented evidence that Trump and his company lied about the size and value of their properties, including Trump Tower in New York City and Mar-a-Lago in Florida. She has also accused Trump of using accounting tricks to make his company appear more profitable than it actually was.
Trump has denied all of the allegations against him, and his lawyers have argued that the lawsuit is politically motivated. They have also accused James of overreaching her authority.
The trial is being closely watched by legal experts and political observers alike. If Trump is found guilty, he could be barred from doing business in New York and could be ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines.
Here are some key things to know about Trump’s civil fraud trial:
- The trial is being held in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
- The jury is made up of six men and six women.
- The trial is expected to last for several weeks.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James is the lead prosecutor.
- Trump is being represented by a team of lawyers led by Alina Habba.
- The charges against Trump include fraud, falsification of business records, and conspiracy.
- If Trump is found guilty, he could be barred from doing business in New York and could be ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines.
What are the implications of Trump’s civil fraud trial?
The outcome of Trump’s civil fraud trial could have major implications for his financial future and his potential to run for president again in 2024.
If Trump is found guilty, he could be barred from doing business in New York, which would be a major blow to his real estate empire. He could also be ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines.
A guilty verdict could also damage Trump’s reputation and make it more difficult for him to raise money for a presidential campaign.
If Trump is acquitted, it would be a victory for him and his supporters. It would also boost his chances of running for president again in 2024.
The trial is still in its early stages, and it is too early to say what the outcome will be. However, the case is being closely watched by legal experts and political observers alike, as it could have major implications for Trump and his future.
Donald Trump Jr. defends father, Trump Organization in NY fraud trial
During his testimony in a New York civil fraud trial on Monday, Donald Trump Jr. defended his father as a real estate developer with a “great vision” for “great, iconic projects.” He, his brother, and his father are battling possible penalties that might put an end to the family’s namesake firm.
Former President Donald Trump and two of his sons have been charged by New York Attorney General Letitia James with falsifying property values to obtain advantageous loans. She is requesting the revocation of their business licences in the state and damages totaling $250 million.
Earlier this month, when government lawyers questioned Don Jr., he claimed he depended on accountants and other experts and was therefore unfamiliar with important financial figures the company produced.
Don Jr. had the opportunity to support the family’s claims that lenders were aware of the company’s financial situation and were compensated with interest when he testified on Monday as a defence witness.
“You thought you were rid of me, your honor,” he told New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron jokingly as he took the stand. The last time he testified, he joked to the sketch artist that he wanted to look courtroom ”sexy”.
‘He’s an artist with real estate’
James’ lawsuit claimed that a “staggering” amount of exaggerated assessments of Donald Trump’s assets were included in the company’s financial statements from 2011 to 2021 and that these valuations were used to obtain better loans and insurance.
In September, Engoron declared that Trump had submitted false financial statements to banks and insurance companies, so engaging in fraud. The damages Engoron might order are the main topic of the trial.
Don Jr. was heckled by a few demonstrators as he arrived at court. One person was holding a sign that read, “Trump crime family.”
Don Jr., an executive vice president at the company, narrated a slide show for more than an hour about the company’s evolution, with pictures of golf courses, hotels and other major projects, under questioning by his lawyer, Clifford Robert.
“He’s an artist with real estate. He sees the things other people don’t,” Don Jr. testified about his father, while skipping over failed ventures and casino bankruptcies. “He has incredible vision that other people don’t.”
Judge says Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony is ‘interesting’
Government lawyer Colleen Faherty objected by arguing the testimony was “unfocused to anything relevant” to the case. But Engoron overruled her, letting the defense present its evidence.
“Let this stuff come in,” Engoron said. “I also find it interesting.”
Don Jr. worked on a variety of projects, including Trump Park Avenue, Trump Tower Chicago and Trump Las Vegas. In earlier testimony, Don Jr. had said he relied on others for accounting.
“I think it’s a truly scary precedent for New York—for me, for example, before even having a day in court, I’m apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it: accounting,” Don Jr. told reporters on Nov. 2.
He said he didn’t recall ever working on his father’s “statement of financial condition,” which is at the heart of the government’s case. He left the work to outside accountants and the company’s then-finance chief and co-trustee, Allen Weisselberg.
“I had an obligation to listen to the people with intimate knowledge of those things,” Don Jr. testified. “These people had an incredible intimate knowledge, and I relied on it.”