Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York enters closing arguments

Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York enters closing arguments

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Attorneys for former President Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James will have their last chance to raise their claims Thursday in a civil fraud lawsuit that could permanently ban Trump from doing business in the state and leave hundreds of millions of people on the hook. dollars.

If James wins, he could become a tourist in a city and state where his name once stood for conspicuous wealth and glamour. A lifetime ban on participation in the real estate industry of New York, a 5-year ban on receiving bank loans in the financial capital of the country and an order to cough up about $ 370 million in alleged illegal profits – James demanded all this. appropriate punishment for his alleged fraud.

Trump’s lawyer told Judge Arthur Engoro last week that the 2024 Republican presidential nominee plans to make his closing argument Thursday, but those plans appear to have fallen through after Trump failed to agree to Arthur Engoro’s terms. .

More: Donald Trump will be in federal, state courts as he campaigns in the final week before the Iowa caucuses

Despite facing four separate criminal charges, Trump has repeatedly expressed that he cares deeply about the case.

He repeatedly attended the months-long trial when he was not required to, and joined the political witch-hunt against both James and Engoron. Engoron ruled in September that Trump and others had committed fraud and that Trump would lose his state business certificates, an outcome he called a “corporate death sentence.” The appellate court stayed the certification decision.

“I think it must be killing him,” said Michael D’Antonio, the author of a Trump biography that describes a man driven by a desire for wealth and publicity. “Until now, no one has been able to ascertain the truth about Trump’s wealth or the Trump Organization because the records were kept private,” D’Antonio said.

Dig deep: ‘Fantasy world’: Donald Trump to face New York court on Monday over damages after judge finds fraud in real estate empire

What is Trump accused of?

James has filed a civil suit against Trump, his two adult sons and other individuals and entities connected to his business empire. He claimed that he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets and obtained unfairly favorable terms for loans and insurance.

Unlike the broad fraud claim Engoro addressed in the September ruling using pre-trial documents, the trial focused on more specific fraud allegations, including insurance fraud and filing false financial statements. It’s also about how much the alleged wrongdoing could cost Trump, his two eldest sons, former executives and several companies.

Related: Donald Trump loses challenge to gag order and fines in New York civil fraud case

Engoron publicly stated in September that he considered Trump’s financial statements highly questionable.

In Trump’s world, restrictions can “evaporate into thin air” and square footage is “subjective,” the judge wrote. “It’s a fantasy world, not a real world.”

Trump has pushed back in ways that show he is frustrated by the case, including social media and courthouse attacks on the judge and attorney general. “He called me a fraud and knew nothing about me!” Trump shouted from the witness stand while testifying in early November.

James has called for Trump to be held accountable for nearly $370 million, though a significant portion of that bill should apply to both Trump and some of the companies he controls. Other defendants will be held liable for relatively small amounts.

Ongoing legal challenges

While the stakes are high, Trump’s civil fraud case barely scratches the surface of his legal woes.

The former president faces yet another financial threat when a defamation lawsuit begins Jan. 16 involving advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. A jury also found Trump civilly liable for sexual assault and defamation against Carroll in a separate trial in May.

Trump is also fighting in the courts to keep his 2024 hopes alive after the Colorado Supreme Court and Maine’s secretary of state ruled that his actions related to the 2016 attack on the Capitol constituted sedition and were therefore constitutionally disqualified from the presidency. . The US Supreme Court decided to hear the Colorado case in February.

More: The stakes rise in Trump’s civil fraud case: What the former president has to lose

The former president is facing criminal charges in four separate cases related to his alleged role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election, hush money payments to women during the 2016 campaign season and the mishandling of classified documents.

None of this seems to have dampened his anxiety about the outcome of the New York fraud trial. On Tuesday, he posted a series of videos on Truth Social criticizing the case.

“We have an out-of-control attorney general” and a judge “a Trump hater,” Trump said. “I didn’t do anything completely wrong, on the contrary, I did a great job.”

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