Donald Trump sat in a Manhattan courtroom yesterday and listened to a New York state lawyer accuse him of generating more than $1 billion by lying about his real estate empire, claims the former president called a “scam.”
The trial in a downtown Manhattan courtroom case concerns accusations by state Attorney General Letitia James that Trump inflated his assets and his own net worth from 2011 to 2021 to obtain favorable bank loans and lower insurance premiums.
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 looked on with his arms crossed are Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in James’ office, called Trump “materially inaccurate” in describing his finances to banks and insurers. The attorney general has said Trump overvalued assets including his Trump Tower penthouse apartment in Manhattan, his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and various office towers and golf clubs, and inflated his own fortune by as much as $2.2 billion.
Christopher Kise, a lawyer for Trump, countered in his opening statement that the financials for Trump and the Trump organization were entirely legal.
The trial is scheduled to run through early December. More than 150 people including Cohen could testify, though much of the trial may be a battle of experts opining on financial documents. Trump also faces several other legal headaches, which have been a financial drain, and made him the first sitting or former U.S. president to be criminally charged.
He has been criminally charged in Washington over his efforts to undo his loss in the 2020 presidential election, in Georgia over moves to reverse election results there, in Florida over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office, and in New York over hush money payments to a porn star.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.