On October 2, 2023, Donald Trump found himself in the midst of a $250 million fraud trial, alongside his associates. Outside the Manhattan courtroom, Trump didn’t mince words as he accused the presiding judge of escaping justice.
Standing at the courthouse door, the former president made a dramatic statement. He labeled the judge, Arthur Engoron, as a “democrat operative” and “a disgrace to people that call themselves judges.”
Trump’s anger stemmed from last month when Engoron had determined that Trump had indeed committed much of the fraud that Attorney General Letitia James had accused him of. However, the trial’s purpose was to determine the appropriate penalties.
In addition to Trump, the Attorney General had also filed a lawsuit against Trump’s children: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, along with several executives from the Trump Organization. Their collective liability was set at $250 million in damages.
This legal showdown wasn’t Trump’s first clash with New York-based officials. In April, after facing criminal charges related to a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump launched an attack, branding Bragg as a “racist” and demanding that he “INDICT HIMSELF.” Trump’s campaign even ran ads against Bragg based on this case.
Now, regarding James’ lawsuit, Trump’s legal team questioned the necessity of the trial after he had been found liable for fraud, and his company dissolved.
The trial’s agenda includes appearances from at least four Trumps – Eric, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Donald Trump – as part of the Attorney General’s 28-person direct case witness list.
The trial aims to determine the extent of business fraud committed by Trump and his children and assess the damages owed. James alleged that between 2016 and 2021, the Trump brothers’ banking statements matched their father’s falsely-inflated annual statements of net worth, inflated by nearly $3.6 billion.
A judge had already found Trump’s financial statements from 2014 to 2021 to be inaccurate, and the trial seeks to unveil the intent behind submitting these documents.
This high-stakes trial is anticipated to last two to three months, further intensifying the legal battles surrounding the former president.