NEW YORK: Former President Donald Trump returns to a New York City courthouse Tuesday to be a spectator at the civil fraud trial threatening to disrupt his real estate empire.
Trump voluntarily attended the first three days of the trial, Oct. 2-4. He turned his appearance into a campaign stop by complaining about the case at every opportunity to TV cameras in the hallway outside the courtroom.
ow he will be back, according to his lawyer, accompanied by bolstered security inside and outside the Manhattan courthouse. His appearance was initially supposed to coincide with testimony by Michael Cohen, his former attorney turned foe. But Cohen’s planned appearance on the witness stand was delayed until at least next week, due to a health problem.
Cohen said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he isn’t dodging Trump. On Monday, he said he expects his estranged ex-boss to be in the courtroom when he does testify.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against Trump alleges that he and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and inflating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing. The attorney general started investigating Trump in 2019 after Cohen testified to Congress that the billionaire politician had a history of misrepresenting the value of assets to gain favorable loan terms and tax benefits.
Instead of Cohen, Trump’s courtroom visit is likely to overlap with the resumption of testimony from his company’s assistant controller, Donna Kidder. State lawyers on Tuesday are also expected to call Jack Weisselberg, the son of longtime Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg, who arranged financing for Trump while an executive at Ladder Capital.
During his first visit to the court earlier this month, Trump said the trial was a “scam,” and accused James, a Democrat, of attempting to hurt his chances in the election. After Trump maligned a key court staffer on social media, the judge called him into a closed-door meeting on the trial’s second day, issued a limited gag order, warning participants in the case not to smear members of his staff. The judge also ordered Trump to delete the post.