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Trump plans to attend opening days of his New York fraud trial

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Former President Donald Trump will travel to New York on Sunday and is planning to attend next week’s civil fraud trial against him, his business and some of his children, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Trump is expected to be in the Manhattan courtroom on Monday and Tuesday before departing on Wednesday, though the sources said his plans could always change.

During a campaign stop in California on Friday, Trump was asked if he would attend the civil trial and responded: “I may, I may.”

“It’s a disgrace,” he said, adding, “it’s all rigged.”

The trial centers around the $250 million civil suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office that alleges the Trumps have been wildly exaggerating their business assets for years.

The judge who will preside over the trial determined this week that Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent. The case will be heard as a bench trial, meaning no jury.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron said in his ruling Tuesday that Trump lied on his financial statements and was able to get favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums as a result.

That ruling also allowed the case to proceed to trial.

Trump and his two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, have denied any wrongdoing. Trump has accused James, a Democrat, of taking part in a partisan “witch hunt” against him.

The former president’s attendance at next week’s civil trial would put him in the same courtroom as Engoron, who Trump has repeatedly attacked on social media. In a post this week on Truth Social, he called Engoron a “Trump Hater beyond even A.G. James.”

Engoron’s ruling on Tuesday pointed to the claimed size of Trump’s New York apartment, among other issues. Trump submitted documents claiming it was 30,000 square feet, when it’s only around 11,000 square feet, which resulted in an overvaluation of between $114 million and $207 million, the judge wrote.

“A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud,” Engoron wrote.

Tuesday’s ruling that allowed the civil trial to proceed also could have other repercussions. It would dissolve numerous limited liability companies, or LLCs, associated with Trump, including the Trump Organization LLC. Each side was given 10 days to recommend three potential receivers to manage the dissolution of the LLCs identified in the court filing.

Engoron also sanctioned Trump’s attorneys $7,500 apiece for making legal arguments that had already been rejected twice.

Trump has tried unsuccessfully for a delay in the civil trial, which could have pushed it to 2024. Engoron rejected Trump’s effort in March to push back the trial’s start date, saying the October trial date was “written in stone.” A state appeals court this week allowed the trial to commence on Monday.

The civil trial comes as Trump holds a commanding lead in the polls among candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination. Trump has argued that all of the trials he’s facing should be postponed until after the 2024 election.

Trump has been criminally charged in four cases, including a federal indictment focused on efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and a similar indictment at the state level in Georgia. In each case, Trump has pleaded not guilty.


Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.