Former President Donald Trump appeared in court on Monday for the opening day of a civil fraud trial that could result in him being barred from conducting business in New York state. Trump, along with his sons Eric and Don Jr, is accused of committing fraud by inflating the value of the Trump Organization’s real estate and financial assets. New York Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that the Trumps engaged in fraudulent practices for years. New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in penalties and the removal of Trump and his sons from the management of the family empire.
During the trial, Trump denounced the case as a “sham” and claimed it was an attempt to interfere with his potential bid for the White House in the next election. Judge Engoron has revoked the business licenses of some of the Trump Organization’s New York properties, a move known as the “corporate death penalty.” If found guilty, Trump could lose control over several flagship properties, including Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
The trial is expected to last for approximately three months and may involve dozens of witnesses, including Trump himself and his children. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and officials from financial institutions linked to Trump are also expected to testify.
This trial is the first of several legal battles Trump is facing. He is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Washington on March 4, 2024, on charges related to the 2020 presidential election. Trump will also face charges in New York for allegedly paying hush money to a porn star and in Florida for mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Additionally, he will have to answer to state charges in Georgia for allegedly attempting to change the state’s 2020 election results.
The outcome of the trial will be determined solely by Judge Engoron, as there is no jury involved.