Donald Trump is accused of lying about the value of property and his personal wealth in order to benefit from favorable bank loans. The civil trial begins this Monday.
The civil trial of Donald Trump and two of his childrenaccused of having inflated colossally for years their real estate assetsopens this Monday in New York, threatening his economic empire and prelude to a legal marathon for the Republican favorite in the 2024 presidential election.
The 77-year-old former president announced Sunday evening that he planned to be here this Monday in opening arguments before the Supreme Court of the State of New York, where he is cited as a witness.
“I’m going to court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation.”
“I am going to court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and my reputation,” said the ex-real estate mogul in a message posted late in the evening on the Truth Social platform, in which He calls New York’s attorney general “corrupt” and the judge in the case “unbalanced”. “This whole affair is a sham!!!!”, he also wrote.
First trial in a long series
Donald Trump cannot not be sentenced to prison in this casebut the trial will offer a foretaste of the legal events likely to disrupt his campaign for the Republican nomination.
Criminally charged in four different cases, which have so far not undermined his popularity with the Republican base, Donald Trump must notably appear starting March 4 in federal court in Washington. He is accused of attempting toreverse the result of the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden.
He will then have an appointment with the New York State justice system to accounting fraudthen to Florida for his negligent handling of confidential documents after his departure from the presidency.
What risk Trump?
The trial which opens this Monday suddenly took a considerable challenge last week when Judge Arthur Engoron, who presides over it, considered that “repeated frauds” were established and that the New York State Attorney General’s Office had already demonstrated that Donald Trump and his group’s staff had “overvalued” their assets between $812 million and $2.2 billion from 2014 to 2021.
The judge ordered the removal of New York state business licenses from Donald Trump and two of his children.
Consequently, this judge ordered withdrawal of commercial licenses for the State of New York to Donald Trump and two of his children, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr, executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization, as well as the confiscation of the companies targeted by the complaint, to be entrusted to liquidators.
If applied, these sanctions would “a major blow to Donald Trump’s ability to do business in New York State”estimates Will Thomas, professor of business law at the University of Michigan.
Donald Trump, who made his fortune in real estate and casinos in the 1980s and promised to run the United States like his companies, would then lose control over several of his group’s flagships, such as the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
These properties are at the heart of prosecutor Letitia James’ accusations: la surface du triplex of the businessman in Trump Tower would have been tripled and the 40 Wall Street building overvalued by $200 million to $300 million in financial filings.
The luxury Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and several Trump Organization golf courses also appear in the file.
The prosecutor also calls for recognition of other violations of financial laws and a fine of 250 million dollars.
Dozens of witnesses
Donald Trump has always dismissed the accusations and multiplies the attacks against the prosecutor James, an elected African-American Democrat whom he called “racist”, and Judge Engoron, whom he describes as “deranged”. On his Truth Social network, he argued that the lending banks had been reimbursed, “totally, with interest, without failures and without victims”.
Three of Donald Trump’s children – Eric, Donald Jr and Ivanka – are called as witnesses in this trial.
The defense also intends to fight head to head on asset valuations.
The trial promises to be technical and dozens of witnesses are expected, including three of the Trump children, Eric, Donald Jr and Ivankainitially covered by the complaint but ultimately not pursued, or former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselbergwho served time in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud in another case targeting the group.
Also among the witnesses are Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who became one of his sworn enemies, as well as employees of lending banks or the accounting firm Mazars, which decided in 2021 to no longer work with the Trump Organization.
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