NEW YORK (AP) – Former President Donald Trump returned to a New York City courthouse Tuesday for a hearing. Civil fraud trial threatens to collapse his real estate empirereiterated his claim that the incident is baseless and a distraction from the politically targeted 2024 election campaign.
After attending the first three days of the trial earlier this month, the Republican front-runner was initially scheduled to return in time for testimony from his opponent, attorney Michael Cohen. However, Cohen’s scheduled appearance on the stand has been postponed until at least next week.
New York Attorney General Letitia James lawsuit For Trump, he and his companies vastly overestimated his assets and inflated his net worth during transactions and the paperwork necessary to secure financing, thereby inflating banks, insurance companies, and others. He claims that he did.
President Trump has denied any wrongdoing, saying his assets were actually undervalued, and a disclaimer on his financial statements instructs banks and other recipients to verify the numbers themselves. claimed to be equal.
“We built a great company, we have a lot of cash, we have a lot of great assets, we have some of the greatest real estate assets anywhere in the world,” he said as he headed to court, calling the lawsuit It was dismissed as a “witch hunt.” He’s an extremist madman attorney general. ”
The Democratic attorney general launched an investigation into Mr. Trump in 2019 after Mr. Cohen testified before Congress that he had a history of lying about the value of his assets to obtain favorable loan terms and tax breaks for Mr. Trump. . She did not comment as she arrived Tuesday.
Cohen said Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he is not avoiding Trump. He said in a text message that he has a medical condition that is “incredibly painful” but plans to testify as soon as the pain subsides.
“Whenever I testify, Donald will be present and will sit with the defense attorney in the defendant’s chair,” Cohen wrote.
Trump’s court visit on behalf of Cohen coincided with the resumption of testimony by the company’s deputy auditor, Donna Kidder. State attorneys also plan to call Jack Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former longtime financial chief, on Tuesday. Allen Weisselberg. His son arranged financing for Mr. Trump when he was an executive at Ladder Capital.
During his first court appearance earlier this month, Trump called the trial a fraud and accused James of trying to hurt his chances for re-election in 2024.
President Trump summed up various criticisms of the case and of Democratic Judge Arthur Engoron, who is hearing the case without a jury. The lawsuit was filed under a state law that does not allow for a jury.
President Trump took to the Truth social media platform early Tuesday to slam Engoron as extremist and “very political,” but hours later, outside the door of the judge’s courtroom, the former president spoke to a more moderate It became a tone. President Trump said he has come to like and respect Engoron, but believes Democrats are “throwing him around like a pinball.”
In the first days of the trial, the judge summoned Trump to a private meeting after he disparaged key court officials on social media. issued a limited gag order, warned the participants in the incident not to smear members of his staff. The judge also ordered Trump to delete the post.
Trump’s first court hearing drew a large media contingent, additional security checkpoints were set up, metal barricades were set up along the road, and Secret Service agents lined the walls of the courtroom. .
Trump’s return to court comes a day after being heard by a judge in a criminal election interference case in Washington, D.C. imposed a narrow gag order The former president was prohibited from making comments targeting prosecutors, potential witnesses, and court officials.
In a pretrial ruling in a New York civil case last month, Engoron settled the highest claim and entered judgment. Trump and his companies engaged in fraud for years by exaggerating the value of Trump’s assets and net worth on financial statements, the lawsuit said.
As a punishment, Engoron ordered court-appointed receivers to take control of some Trump companies, raising questions about future oversight of Trump Tower and other major facilities. The Court of Appeals has since blocked execution For now, on that aspect of the ruling.
The case concerns the remaining six claims in the case, including allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsification of business records.