Trump Appears in Manhattan Court for Civil Trial on Property Valuation Charges


Former President Donald Trump arrived at a lower Manhattan courthouse on Monday morning to face a civil trial concerning allegations of inflating property values. The 77-year-old, a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, left Trump Tower in Midtown at approximately 9 a.m. en route to the Manhattan Supreme Courthouse in downtown New York. Here, he will defend himself against New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million lawsuit accusing him of fraudulent practices.

The non-jury trial is slated to commence at 10 a.m. with opening statements from both sides: James’ legal team and representatives for Trump, the Trump Organization, and co-defendants, which include Trump's sons and long-time confidants.

Trump has consistently refuted these allegations and took to Truth Social on Sunday night to announce his personal appearance in court, declaring, “I’m going to Court [Monday] morning to fight for my name and reputation.”

The former president also took the opportunity to criticize James and Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who presides over the case, branding him “unfair, unhinged, and vicious in his pursuit of me.”

Trump stands accused of fabricating information in business documents to secure favorable terms with banks. This encompasses his penthouse at Trump Tower, a residence he claimed spanned 30,000 square feet, when in reality, it measures closer to 11,000 square feet.

Potential witnesses in the trial include Trump and his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. The trial's duration may extend into December, but the former president and his close associates are not anticipated to testify for several weeks.

James contends that Trump, along with his business and children, exaggerated the worth of his assets by up to $3.6 billion annually. Her lawsuit seeks to compel Trump to reimburse the state approximately $250 million in penalties, restrict Trump's capacity to operate businesses in New York, and prohibit him and his team from purchasing commercial property for an extended period.

Last week, Justice Engoron delivered a significant legal victory to James by ruling that Trump engaged in a long-running fraud scheme through false statements on company documents. He invalidated the New York "business certificates" linked to the Trump Organization and any other New York-based businesses operated by Trump or his family. Additionally, Engoron mandated an independent third party to oversee the "dissolution of the canceled LLCs."

Following the trial, Engoron will make final rulings on six remaining claims in James’ lawsuit.

“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system,” James asserted in a statement on Monday morning. “We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud... The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does.”