Furious Donald Trump pictured in New York court as he battles $250m fraud case
Donald Trump has taken the stand to testify $250 million civil fraud trial that could decide the fate of the New York real estate empire.
The former president is taking the witness stand at the New York Supreme Court in the lawsuit brought against him by New York State Attorney General Letitia James who accuses him of greatly exaggerating his wealth to fool banks and insurance companies and to save money.
In court, state attorney Kevin Wallace said: “The people call Donald J. Trump” and with that, the former president rose from his seat, made the short walk from the counsel table to the witness stand, and sat down.
Judge Arthur Engoron and court clerk Allison Greenfield sit immediately to his right. Directly across from him and in eyeshot is New York Attorney General James.
A court officer advised Trump: “Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm that any testimony you give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
Trump, with his hand raised, replies: “I do.”
The 77-year-old’s dramatic testimony will mark the end of a month-long trial in which the Attorney General’s office has grilled several people – including his eldest sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are also defendants in the suit.
They both testified last week, insisting they weren’t involved in their dad’s annual “statements of financial condition”.
These are documents James has claimed Trump falsified for around a decade by vastly inflating his assets to the tune of billions of dollars a year for improved loan and insurance terms.
In a ruling issued days before the beginning of the trial, Manhatten Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron had already found the former president liable for fraud.
Engoron, who is deciding the case, wrote the 77-year-old had valued his assets as if he lived in a “fantasy world” on financial filings between 2011 and 2021.
The Manhatten Supreme Court Justice also wrote the filings contained “indisputably false”, including Trump’s Midtown penthouse was 30,000 square feet when it was closer to just a third of that size.
He subsequently ordered the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner’s New York-based businesses to be dissolved in a move that could force him to eventually turn over Trump Tower and other properties to a court-ordered receiver.
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Trump’s legal team has strenuously denied the claims and is appealing the ruling.
Six other outstanding claims need to be decided, including three “conspiracy” charges, where James’ office must attempt to prove Trump had intent to falsify business records and defraud insurers.
The former president has already been fined $5,000 and warned twice about launching public verbal attacks against law clerk Allison Greenfield, whom he targeted near the start of the trial in a since-deleted post on Truth Social.
The Attorney General’s office had planned to call the 77-year-old as their last witness in the case, but his daughter Ivanka Trump is now set to testify on Wednesday as the state wraps up its case.
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