Trump to appear in court today in $250M New York civil fraud trial

Trump’s lawyers says his net worth is MORE than the ‘inflated’ $2.2 BILLION – and Mar-a-Lago should be valued at $1 BILLION in fiery opening statement that drew LAUGHS inside Manhattan court

  • Trump appearing in a Manhattan court on Monday at the start of fraud trial
  • He tore into AG Letitia James and the judge inside the state Supreme Court
  • The former president and his sons are accused of inflating his property values 

Donald Trump has claimed in court that he is actually worth more than the billions of dollars prosecutors allege he inflated the values of his properties by.

Trump’s lawyers said his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was actually worth at least $1 billion, rather than the $18 million prosecutors suggest.

In a a fiery defense opening statement Trump lawyer Alina Habba said: ‘There is a person out there who will buy that (Mar-A-Lago) for over $1 billion. That’s not fraud, that’s real estate.’

Earlier, Trump scowled and shook his head as prosecutors accused him of ‘lying year after year’ to exaggerate the value of his property empire by $2.2 billion to obtain favorable bank loans.

In extraordinary scenes inside New York Supreme Court the judge Arthur Engoron grinned for TV cameras as Trump sat looking sternly on, at one point muttering under his breath.

Donald Trump raged against the 'rogue judge' before the start of his civil fraud trial in New York Monday, calling the prosecution an 'attempt to hurt me in an election'. He is seen sitting behind the defense table in the first hearing

Trump can be seen inside New York Supreme court, flanked by lawyers Chris Kise and Alina Habba. Behind Trump to his right is state AG Letitia James, who he called a 'horror show' minutes before the start of his trial

Trump spoke outside the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan where the penalty phase of his trial is expected to last weeks, and where his team says he will take the stand in his defense

Habba told the court the amount prosecutors claimed was fraudulent was ‘frankly less than what they (the Trump family) are worth’.

She said the true value of Trump’s net worth would include his personal brand from shows like The Apprentice.

‘There’s a lot of people in this room that probably don’t like that but it’s a fact,’ she said.

Habba claimed Trump’s Florida golf course Doral was also worth over $1 billion, sparking laughter in the public gallery.

She said it was ‘one of the best golf courses in the country’, and praised the Trump Organization as a ‘beautiful company’. She added: ‘Real estate is malleable but there was absolutely no intent to defraud, no conspiracy’. 

The case set a ‘very dangerous precedent for all business owners in the state of New York,’ she said.  

Just before entering the courtroom a combative Trump delivered an explosive tirade in which he railed against the ‘rogue’ judge and ‘racist horror show’ attorney general Letitia James, who brought the case.

Trump could face up to $250 million in fines and the potential loss of his licenses for buildings including Trump Tower in New York.

‘This is a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time,’ Trump said before going into court. ‘It’s a scam. It’s a sham. There was no crime. The crime is against me.’

Trump is accused of inflating the value of his assets by billions of dollars to secure loans from banks.

He claims the case is part of an Democrat attempt to use the justice system to torpedo his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

In court Trump sat with his lawyers Clifford Robert, Alina Habba and Christopher Kise. 

Prosecutor Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in James’ office, told the court that Trump had described his finances to banks and insurers in a “materially inaccurate way” for a decade.

Wallace said Trump did this to get better loan terms and lower insurance premiums, illegally generating more than $1 billion of financial benefits.

‘This isn’t business as usual, and this isn’t how sophisticated parties deal with each other,’ Wallace said. “These are not victimless crimes. The defendants were lying year after year.’ 

Wallace showed the court video clips of depositions from people including Trump, his son Eric, and Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer.

Cohen suggested Trump wanted to be ‘higher on the Forbes list’.

He said: ‘The goal was to use each of (Trump’s) assets and increase its value in order to get to the end result number. 

‘It was essentially backing in numbers to each of the asset classes in order to attain the number that President Trump wanted.’ 

Graphics were displayed on video screens showing the values Trump had given to his properties and what prosecutors valued them at.

Trump sat with his arms crossed, sometimes shaking his head, and at one point muttering under his breath.

Responding to the prosecution claims Trump lawyer Christopher Kise said: ‘It is one of the most highly successful brands in the world, and he has made a fortune literally being right about real estate investments.

‘There was no intent to defraud, there was no illegality, there was no default, there was no breach, there was no reliance from the banks, there were no unjust profits, and there were no victims.’

He added: ‘We think the evidence is going to establish President Trump has made billions of dollars building one of the most successful real estate empires in the world.’ 

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. 

Earlier, outside the courtroom, Trump said: “We have a great company. I built a great company. It’s tremendous. It’s got some of the greatest real estate assets in the world. And now I have to go in before a rogue judge.’ 

He claimed the prosecution was being driven from Washington, saying ‘it all comes down from the DOJ, they totally coordinated this in Washington.’  

Trump also claimed it was because of his performance in the polls in his bid to reclaim the White House.  

He also defended the financial statements at issue in the case, which gave values for his properties.

‘My financial statements are phenomenal,’ he said. 

Trump claimed there was ‘no victim here,’ because lenders to his company during the years in question got repaid. 

‘I didn’t even put in the best asset, which is my brand,’ Trump said, comparing the brand value of his real estate and golf empire to Coca-Cola.

He said his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, which had been valued at $18 million to $27 million by the court was actually worth ’50 to 100 times’ that much.

Trump, wearing a dark blue suit and light blue tie, then entered the courtroom and cameras were briefly allowed inside.

The former president could be seen looking unhappy as he sat at a table with his lawyers.

James sat on a bench a few yards behind Trump and stared at him, while the judge took his glasses off and smiled broadly at the camera.

Earlier, in the hallway Trump had said: ‘You ought to go after this attorney general because she’s turning off everybody for coming in.’

That was a reference to New York state’s business climate.

Former President Donald Trump attacked Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing his civil trial at the New York Supreme Court. He called him a 'rogue' judge, while also blasting AG Letitia James

Trump has been warned by the federal judge overseeing one of his criminal trials about attacks on prosecutors and court personnel

As Trump arrived at court surrounded by police and protesters his team blasted the ‘renegade judge’ deciding his fate.

‘We will continue to fight in hopes that there is some level of law and order in this country,’ said Trump lawyer Alina Habba. 

Inside the courtroom, Judge Engoron, who had briefly allowed cameras inside, briefly took off his glasses. He opened the proceeding by telling the court how to pronounce his name.

He denied a motion from a lawyer representing various media organizations to televise the trial, however five photographers were allowed in briefly to photograph Trump.

NYPD officers set up barricades and demonstrators calling for Trump to be jailed as he prepared for the start of the case, accusing him of inflating values in his property empire by up to $2.2 billion.

‘We’ve got a renegade judge here who’s ignoring the will of the appeals court,’ Trump spokesman Jason Miller said outside the courthouse steps. ‘President Trump’s assets are worth way more than what the court would have you believe,’ he said.

Say cheese!  Judge Arthur Engoron removed his glasses during a brief photo-op inside the courtroom

Trump's son Eric, who prosecutors may call in the case, arrived before his father

‘This is nothing more than election interference,’ fumed Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung. ‘This is the only way they can stop him.’ 

His son Eric and aide Margo Martin were by his side as he arrived at the downtown Manhattan court. 

He prepared for his appearance by tearing into the judge and Attorney General Letitia James in a 1am Truth Social rant.

The $250 million fraud case kicked off when New York AG James accused Trump, his adult sons and the Trump Organization of inflating the value of his empire of properties by up $2.2 billion.

Justice Engoron said last week in a scorching ruling that the likely Republican Presidential candidate ‘repeatedly’ violated fraud laws to get preferential loans from banks for the company and to minimize its tax liability.

The judge canceled the business certificates for some of Trump’s businesses, meaning he may lose control of some of his most famous buildings.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba sat by his side in the courtroom

Trump repeatedly attacked state AG Letitia James Monday morning

Trump defended his financial statements, after the judge during summary judgement ruled he inflated assets by $2 billion in total

Trump called the case against him a 'scam,' and railed against the judge and prosecutors. He also defended his financial statements

'No matter how powerful you are, and no matter how much money you think you have, no one is above the law,' said NY AG Letitia James

Donald Trump arrived in a New York court surrounded by cops and protesters to face a judge in his $250 million civil fraud trial, after making the short trip from Trump Tower

Eric Trump, one of those accused of inflating property values, walks through the corridors of the New York court room head of the hearing

The trial, which is expected to last three months, will focus on six remaining narrow issues including how much the penalty should be.

Sitting in court Trump will have to listen as prosecutors essentially call into question his entire image, that of a self made billionaire who rose to become Leader of the Free World.

Instead they will portray him as the head of a ‘staggering’ fraud which Judge Engoron concluded was full of ‘pie in the sky’ valuation of properties.

They included inflating the value of his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago by up to 10 times its $18 million worth.

Trump previewed what he believed he would face in a post on Truth Social, suggesting the bias of both James and Justice Engoron.

‘I’m going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation against a corrupt and racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who campaigned on ‘getting Trump,’ he wrote.

Trump's aide Margo Martin was part of the entourage supporting him during his court appearance on Monday morning

Lawyers carrying boxes of files arrive in court ahead of Trump's heading in the fraud trial

Downtown Manhattan was swarming with cops and the media on Monday morning as Donald Trump prepared to face a judge in his $250million civil fraud trial

Former President Donald Trump was seen arriving at Trump Tower in Manhattan Sunday night ahead of the start of his civil fraud trial on Monday morning

He made multiple posts indicating that Engoron – whom he has called ‘deranged’ and ‘Trump-hating’ – was undervaluing his famous Mar-a-Lago estate.

‘He values Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, at 18 Million Dollars, when it is worth 50 to 100 times that amount. His valuations are FRAUDULENT in pursuit of Election Interference, and worse. THIS WHOLE CASE IS A SHAM!!! See you in Court – Monday morning,’ Trump added.

Protesters holding placards with Trump behind bars marched outside the court ahead of his appearance

Members of the press gathered outside as the Trump circus returned to New York

Flanked by Secret Service and NYPD officers, Trump was wearing a navy blue suit, white button down shirt and going without a tie as he walked in

He later called for both Engoron and James to resign ‘for purposeful and criminal election interference.’

‘She is fully aware that Mar-a-Lago, and other assets, are worth much more than what she is claiming. Both of these Democrat Operatives are a disgrace to New York, and to the United States of America!’

James accused Trump of trying to ‘cheat the system’ in her own statement on Monday morning.

‘For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system, she said. 

‘We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. 

‘In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial. 

‘No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. 

‘The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does.’

On Monday, the civil trial will address what Trump, his businesses, his adult sons and his business associates did with that false information. This will just be one of several trials Trump is set to face from October to May.

As he has been in a constant feud with James, he has also called out Engoron for carrying out a ‘witch hunt’ on him. Engoran is the judge assigned to this trial and will have the final say on what happens next for the 45th President.

Just last week, Engoron ruled to exterminate Trump’s family business on the basis of widespread fraud. These properties included Trump Tower and the Trump International Hotel.

NYPD officers were seen setting up barricades outside court just hours before the president was set to make the journey from Trump Tower

Members of the press gathered outside as the Trump circus returned to New York

Flanked by Secret Service and NYPD officers, Trump was wearing a navy blue suit, white button down shirt and going without a tie as he walked in

Barriers were placed around the 58-story Fifth Avenue building as he arrived at around 11pm

He previewed what he believed he would face in a post on Truth Social, suggesting the bias of both New York Attorney General Letitia James and Justice Arthur Engoron, who will be prosecuting and ruling over the case, respectively

‘I’m going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation against a corrupt and racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who campaigned on ‘getting Trump,’ Trump wrote

Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower in New York ahead of his court appearance tomorrow

Since those properties were taken away, Trump has openly spoken out about how he feels in regard to Justice Engoron’s decision.

‘I have a Deranged, Trump Hating Judge, who RAILROADED this FAKE CASE through a NYS Court at a speed never before seen,’ Trump said on social media.

On top of attempting to delay his trial, Politico reported that Trump went a step further and ‘accused the judge of failing to comply with earlier appeals’ that he said altered the range of the case against him.

The former President’s legal team was a bit thrown off by Engoron’s abrupt decision, even after James found that Trump and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.

She also said he boosted valuations by up to $2 billion, inflating the value of signature assets including the Mar-a-Lago club where he now resides and his Manhattan penthouse apartment at Trump Tower.

Trump, his company and key executives repeatedly lied about them on his annual financial statements, reaping rewards such as favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, Engoron found.

Engoron has responded to Trump’s claims with ‘Decline to sign’ and ‘Defendants’ arguments are completely without merit.’

He previously held Trump in contempt of court and ordered him to pay $100,000 after he found out that he failed to comply with the subpoena ordered by James’s office.

On Monday, the civil trial will address what Trump, his businesses, his adult sons and his business associates did with that false information. This will just be one of many trials Trump is set to face from October to May

Donald Trump is set to arrive in the Big Apple on Sunday night for his civil fraud trial on Monday. He could possibly be in the city until Tuesday.

As he has been in a constant feud with James (pictured left), he has also called out Justice Arthur Engoron (pictured right) for carrying out a ‘witch hunt’ on him. Engoran is the judge assigned to this trial and will have the final say on what happens next for the 45th President

Trump, his company and key executives repeatedly lied about them on his annual financial statements, reaping rewards such as favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, Engoron found

Trump faces a number of legal hurdles in the coming months, even while running for president again and leading the 2024 Republican Primary in the polls.

On January 15, he is set to kick off his federal defamation trial that has been brought on by E. Jean Carroll.

Later that month, on January 29, a trial related to a federal class action lawsuit that accused him and his company of promoting a pyramid scheme will start.

Then Trump will face a federal criminal trial on March 4 based on the accusation that he tried to interfere with the 2020 election.

On March 25 he will be back in New York for a case brought on by his alleged mishandling with classified documents.

Judge rules Trump defrauded banks while building real estate empire

Engoron previously held Trump in contempt of court and ordered him to pay $100,000 after he found out that he failed to comply with the subpoena ordered by James’s office

Technically, he is not required to be present for the civil trial unless he is called to testify by James, which she has said she is considering.

So far, he has not appeared in court for any of his federal civil trials from earlier this year.

Regardless, Trump’s calendar is going to be tight as he looks ahead to campaigning while battling Biden’s justice department.

If convicted on all charges, he faces 71 years in prison – and state charges, unlike federal, cannot be pardoned by a president.

The probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began shortly after the release of a recording of a January 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which the then-president suggested that Raffensperger could ‘find 11,780 votes’ — just enough to overtake Joe Biden.

Trump has described his phone call to Raffensperger as ‘perfect’ and has portrayed the prosecution by the Democratic district attorney as politically motivated.

The Attorney General didn’t start this feud between Trump and the judge as the two have had past history.

Trump and his co-defendants will only face Judge Engoron instead of a jury in a bench trial.

Through a court spokesperson, Engoron has declined to comment on Trump’s barbs. He is barred from commenting to the news media about the case.

Engoron has been involved in Trump-related cases since 2020, when he was assigned to intervene in quarrels among Trump´s lawyers and James´ office over demands for evidence and the direction of her investigation.

There is a chance that Trump could stay in New York City until Tuesday based on the outcome of Monday’s trial.

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