Real Estate

Trump New York fraud trial ends first day with tax accountant testimony

Former President Donald Trump, right, sits in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, in New York.
Seth Wenig | AP

The $250 million civil fraud trial that could see former President Donald Trump permanently banned from doing business in New York began Monday.

The trial comes a year after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued him, his company, three of his adult children, and top Trump Organization officials.

James alleged the defendants misstated the values of real estate properties by billions of dollars in business records to obtain better loan and insurance terms, and tax benefits.

Trump, who is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, arrived at Manhattan Supreme Court for the start of the trial.

Before it began, Trump claimed the case was a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his presidential campaign.

“Everything was perfect. There was no crime. The crime is against me,” Trump told reporters in the hallway outside the courtroom.

James notched a massive win against Trump and other defendants last week when Judge Arthur Engoron ruled they were liable for the fraud claims. Engoron in that ruling canceled the defendants’ New York business certificates and ordered an independent receiver to oversee their dissolution.

Engoron, not a jury, will decide whether the defendants are liable for the other six claims at the trial, which is expected to conclude in late December.

A box is carried as the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump is set to begin at New York State Supreme Court on October 02, 2023 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

James, who is also in court, in a statement said, “For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system.”

“We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud,” James said. “No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does.”

Ivanka Trump was removed from the case in June, after an appeals court ruled that the claims against her were barred by the statute of limitations. But two of Trump’s other children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who took over the family business after their father became president in 2016, remain as defendants.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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