Donald Trump is expected to appear in a Manhattan courtroom Monday to watch his lawyers fight for his business legacy as the trial kicks off in New York Attorney General Tish James’ multibillion-dollar financial fraud case against the former president’s family real estate empire.
Trump is expected to make the trip downtown after sleeping overnight high atop Fifth Ave. in his sawtoothed namesake tower. The skyscraper is among several properties in the former president’s real estate portfolio central to the AG’s case and potentially on its way out of his hands.
James is expected to travel to the courthouse from her Liberty St. offices downtown, which are next door to Trump’s 40 Wall St. property, which is also central to her case. She accuses Trump of more than doubling the value of his green lantern-topped tower in 2012 and added even more digits to the fake price tag in the ensuing years.
The trial, expected to last several months, kicks off on the heels of the AG’s major win last week when Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in her favor on the top claim. Engoron on Tuesday found Trump and his co-defendants liable for engaging in persistent and repeated fraud while running his business from 2011 to 2021 and ordered he be stripped of all owned and controlled New York business certificates.
Engoron’s ruling found Trump and his execs habitually cooked the books to make him seem richer than he was. In declaring him legally a fraudster, Engoron found Trump told quickly disprovable lies about assets emblazoned with his name — like tripling the size of his 66th-floor Trump Tower triplex in 2015, making it triple the value of the city’s then-most-expensive apartment.
Based on numbers Trump doesn’t dispute, the judge’s summary judgment ruling found he falsely inflated his net worth by up to $2.2 billion some years before his presidency.
Trump will come face to face with Engoron and the AG and is still seething from the stunning legal defeat, having spent the better part of the last week tearing into them at rallies and on his Truth Social platform.
With less than 12 hours to go before his expected arrival, Trump took to his social media site late Monday to lambast James, who is Black, as “corrupt and Racist” and Engoron as “unfair, unhinged, and vicious in his PURSUIT of me.”
The AG will argue at trial that the purpose of inflating the buildings’ value – and his own – was to convince banks to agree to better loan terms, insurers to sign off on higher coverage limits at lower premiums, save on taxes, and score other illegal cost-saving measures. She says evidence at trial will show Trump actually inflated his net worth by up to $3.6 billion in the decade covered.
In the lead up to the trial, Trump’s side has argued the AG is misrepresenting standard top executive negotiations as crimes and says her case’s alleged victims are banks that got richer doing business with Trump.
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