Trump vs. justice
Former US President Donald Trump appeared today, Monday, October 2, in court in New York at the beginning of a trial against him on corruption charges. The front-runner to win the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2024 elections is accused of fraud in a civil case that could deal a serious blow to the businessman-turned-politician’s real estate empire. Trump insisted this was further evidence of what he calls a “witch hunt,” as his list of cases before justice grows.
Fraud, another issue that puts Donald Trump to the test. The former President of the United States, accompanied by his children, appeared in court in New York on October 2 to face a new trial.
New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses the former president and the Trump Organization of inflating the value of the assets of his real estate empire by billions of dollars, allegedly to ensure better terms for loans and insurance.
Visibly upset, the former president looked away when the prosecutor passed him on his way to court. Since James, a member of the Democratic Party, revealed the case in August 2020, Trump has attacked him, while the official has not stopped following his movements in an investigation that has been ongoing for years.
Minutes before facing Trump on the court, James confirmed that this was a case of “continuous and repeated fraud” that had continued over time, accusations that the former president rejected.
In his opening statement, Kevin Wallace, a lawyer for the state Attorney General’s Office, said the former president described his finances to banks and insurance companies in a “grossly inaccurate manner” for a decade.
The judge in charge of the case agrees. Less than a week ago, on September 26, Judge Arthur Engoron declared the former president, his eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric, and 10 of his companies responsible for the crime. “The only thing I know a lot about is the definition of fraud,” Engoron stressed.
In describing how assets were inflated, Judge Engoron noted, for example, that Trump calculated the value of his Trump Tower apartment as if it were three times its actual size.
“A discrepancy of this magnitude, by a real estate developer who has been evaluating his own living space for decades, can only be considered fraud,” he noted.
As a result, Engoron canceled the trading certificates of the companies controlling the pillars of the former ruler’s empire, and stated that he would appoint delegates to oversee their dissolution.
The ruling covers some of his most valuable properties, including his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, his estate in Westchester County, New York, and several office buildings and golf clubs.
In the case of the Mar-a-Lago property, Attorney General James noted that its value had increased to $739 million, even though restrictions on the title deed set it at $28 million. James insisted Monday that his office was prepared to prove the case.
He stressed that “the law is strong and fragile (…) No matter how much money you think you have, no one is above the law. Justice will prevail.”
If found guilty, the ruling would deal a major blow to the businessman-turned-politician’s real estate empire. James is calling for at least $250 million in fines and a permanent ban on Trump and his children from conducting business in New York. and a five-year commercial real estate ban against the political leader and the Trump Organization.
“It’s a scam. It’s a farce”: Trump defends himself against these accusations
For his part, minutes before entering the court, the former US President insisted that “this is a continuation of the largest witch hunt ever.”
He continued: “We have a great company. I have built a great company. It is enormous (…) It has some of the largest real estate assets in the world. And now I have to appear before an unfair judge,” rejecting these accusations. .
For the former president, these are attempts to halt his path to return to the White House in the 2024 elections, which he is starting against as a candidate for the Republican nomination.
Trump, who placed an American flag pin on the lapel of his suit, criticized James, describing the Democratic plaintiff of African descent as a “racist” and accusing her of seeking “revenge” against him.
The trial, in which more than 150 people will testify, is scheduled to last until early December.
But this is just one of many court cases that are presenting a headache for the former president as he tries to mount a campaign to return to the Oval Office. Trump, who became the first US president or former president to be criminally charged, is charged in four separate cases.
So far, none of them have achieved any change in their lead over their rivals for the Republican nomination, even though they have been a financial burden.
With Reuters and Associated Press