Former President Donald Trump appeared in court in Manhattan on Monday morning for the first day of his trial on fraud charges.
Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, opened an investigation into Trump that could lead to criminal charges. Trump’s legal team will present their case to Judge Arther Engoron.
After AG James accused the former president of overvaluing his assets, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in late September that Trump and his company committed fraud while building his real estate empire.
Judge Engoron found that Trump had lied about his wealth and overvalued his assets to banks, insurers, and others.
According to James, Trump “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” with the help of his children. Trump’s attempt to have the civil trial postponed was denied by a court of appeals in New York State.
As a form of punishment, Engoron ordered the revocation of several of Trump’s business licenses, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to operate in New York. The judge has stated that he will maintain the status quo of an independent monitor overseeing the Trump Organization.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, spoke to reporters and provided a brief statement.
James filed suit against Trump, claiming that he “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” with the help of his children, and the judge agreed.
On the first day of her trial against Trump, AG James made a public statement.
“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system. We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial” James wrote in a statement.
“No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does,” she added.
After being elected in 2019, James immediately began looking into Trump’s business dealings. Her accusations are just one of four indictments against the ex-president that have been filed in states all over the country, including New York, Florida, the District of Columbia, and Georgia.
Late on Sunday night, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Engoron, alleging the judge was deliberately underestimating Trump’s net worth.
“Judge Engoron’s Valuation of Mr-a-Lago, the most spectacular property in Palm Beach, Florida, IS FRAUDULENT! He states a value of 18 Million Dollars, knowing full well that it is worth, perhaps, 50 to 100 times that amount. Engoron is working diligently to misrepresent me, and my net worth, which is substantially MORE than is shown on my fully ‘disclaimed’ Financial Statements. I have not even included my most valuable asset – BRAND!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
“He should resign from the ‘Bench’ and be sanctioned by the Courts for his abuse of power, and his intentional and criminal interference with the Presidential Election of 2024, of which I am leading all candidates, both Republican & Democrat, by significant margins. Likewise, Letitia James should resign for purposeful and criminal Election Interference. She is fully aware that Mar-a-Lago, and other assets, are worth much more than what she is claiming. Both of these Democrat Operatives are a disgrace to New York, and to the United States of America!” Trump continued.