“The former president, accused in a lawsuit of inflating his net worth to win favorable terms on loans, has arrived at a Manhattan court. The civil trial is set to begin at 10 a.m.
After decades of exaggerating with impunity about the value of his properties, former President Donald J. Trump will go on trial Monday in New York to face a lawsuit that accuses him of inflating his riches by billions of dollars and crossing the line into fraud.
The trial, set to begin at 10 a.m. in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, will be the first of several government trials that Mr. Trump will face in the coming year, a procession of high-stakes courtroom battles that coincide with his third White House run.
One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, spoke on steps of the courthouse, saying that her client is being persecuted for his politics: “What we are witnessing is election interference of somebody who is leading in the polls the more they hit him. So keep hitting him, because he’s going to keep fighting.”
Letitia James was sworn in as the New York attorney general on Jan. 1, 2019. Two months later, her office opened an investigation into Donald J. Trump.
That investigation — prompted by congressional testimony from Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, about Mr. Trump’s pattern of inflating the value of his assets in his financial statements — became a lawsuit. And on Monday, the lawsuit will become a trial that could exact a heavy price from Mr. Trump.
There is enhanced security at the courthouse in preparation for Mr. Trump’s appearance today. Reporters had to go through two metal detectors to enter into the courtroom. The courtroom itself, courthouse hallways and the exterior of 60 Centre Street are also flooded with Secret Service agents.
Court officials have said that routine business in the courthouse, which is nearly a century old and was built in classical style, will continue despite the heavy security inside and out. The building, with its 10 towering columns and sweeping stone steps, likely will look familiar to many people as it is the backdrop for the opening scene of “Law and Order.”
The trial is scheduled to last until Christmas, but most people close to the case expect it to end sooner. Last week, in a crucial pretrial ruling, the judge overseeing the case found Trump liable for fraud, deciding that no trial was needed to determine the claim at the core of the attorney general’s lawsuit. The ruling that could shorten the trial significantly.
Mr. Trump’s legal team has entered the courtroom. His lead lawyer, Christopher M. Kise, is smiling resolutely. Clifford S. Robert, who represents Eric and Donald Trump Jr., also defendants, looks more apprehensive.
The attorney general, Letitia James, accused Trump of exaggerating his net worth by as much as $2.2 billion in some years. The trial should offer some look at his actual net worth in the years in question — 2011 to 2021 — and home in on his most emphatic hyperbole. The judge has already determined that Trump used his financial statements fraudulently: The question that remains is, by just how much did he stretch the truth?
Letitia James just walked into the courtroom. She shook hands with several people before sitting down in the first reserved row behind her attorneys.
Donald Trump is en route to the courthouse from Trump Tower. Meanwhile, Letitia James, the attorney general, delivered a statement outside: “Donald Trump and the other co-defendents have committed persistent and repeated fraud. Last week, we proved that in our motion for summary judgment. today, we will prove our other claims. My message is simple: No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you may have, no one is above the law.”
Around 8:30 a.m., about a half a dozen anti-Trump protesters gathered across Centre Street, chanting “Trump lies all the time” and holding signs saying “lies have consequences.” They were quickly broken up by police officers and moved to Foley Square. The crowd has since grown in numbers and hung a large banner on the police barricades saying “no one is above the law.”
When a New York judge ruled on Sept. 26 that Donald J. Trump had committed fraud by inflating his assets, he was effectively saying that the facts at the heart of the case against Mr. Trump would not be subject to debate during a trial that begins Monday.
The civil case was brought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, in 2022, and accuses the former president and his family business of lying to lenders and insurers about the value of their properties in order to secure more favorable terms. In a so-called summary judgment days before the trial, Justice Arthur F. Engoron of State Supreme Court in Manhattan found that they had done so — and that Mr. Trump was liable.
Read the Judge’s Ruling in the Trump Fraud Case
The decision by Justice Arthur F. Engoron is a major victory for Attorney General Letitia James in her lawsuit against Mr. Trump, effectively deciding that no trial was needed to determine that he had fraudulently secured favorable terms on loans and insurance deals.Read Document
Former President Donald J. Trump has been facing a wave of legal scrutiny, at both the state and federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers.
Those investigations have now led to Mr. Trump’s being indicted in four cases in four months: two brought by the special counsel Jack Smith, one by the Manhattan district attorney and the latest coming from local prosecutors in Georgia.“