Donald Trump returns to New York for civil fraud trial

By Jack Queen

(Reuters) – is set to appear in New York court on Tuesday for the third week of a civil fraud trial that could dismantle pillars of the former U.S. president’s business empire.

Trump, frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is arriving fresh off a Monday campaign stop in Iowa and after a weeklong absence from the trial centering on allegations that he inflated his net worth to secure more favorable loan terms.

The timing of his return to court initially coincided with planned testimony from his former lawyer Michael Cohen, a star witness in the case who is now expected to testify next week.

Jack Weisselberg, son of former Trump Organization chief financial officer , is expected to testify Tuesday, along with a real estate appraiser involved in valuing Trump’s 40 Wall Street property.

The lawsuit by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges Trump reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten savings by overstating the value of his properties in documents he provided to banks.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and defended the valuations of his properties, saying the case is a “fraud” and attacking both James and the judge overseeing the case.

The judge, Justice Arthur Engoron, found in September that Trump had engaged in fraud and ordered the dissolution of companies controlling crown jewels of his real estate portfolio, including Trump Tower in Manhattan. That ruling is on hold while Trump appeals.

The trial largely concerns damages. James is seeking at least $250 million in fines, a permanent ban against Trump and his sons Donald Jr and Eric from running businesses in New York and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.

Trump was in attendance for the first three days of trial. He delivered fiery remarks to reporters outside the courtroom during breaks, calling the case a “sham,” a “scam” and part of a “witch hunt” by political rivals seeking to prevent him from retaking the White House in the November 2024 election.

Engoron imposed a gag order on Trump after the former president attacked a court clerk in a post on his Truth Social platform. The gag order bars Trump from speaking publicly about court staff.

(Reporting by Jack Queen in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and David Gregorio)


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