The New York attorney general’s office has initiated a substantial $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, his company, and two of his children, which has now entered its trial phase in New York. This lawsuit has potentially broad ramifications for the business activities of the former president.
Scheduled to conclude by December 22, the bench trial in Manhattan, overseen by Judge Arthur Engoron, is anticipated to span approximately three months. Engoron has previously ruled partly in favor of state Attorney General Letitia James, determining that Trump perpetuated numerous instances of fraud over several years, which included misrepresenting information to banks and insurance companies by both inflating and minimizing his assets, alongside an overstatement of his net worth by billions.
Last week, Engoron penned a 35-page ruling, describing Trump’s defense against the fraudulent claims as rooted in “a fantasy world, not the real world.”
Not only is this ruling pivotal for the case’s progression to trial this week, but it also signals practical consequences for Trump’s multiple LLCs, instigating a dissolution process for entities like Trump Organization LLC, which has been pivotal in broadening the Trump brand.
Outstanding matters, beyond those already ruled on by Engoron, are slated for resolution during the trial.
Labeling the ruling “outrageous,” Christopher Kise, Trump’s primary attorney, signaled intentions for an appeal.
Trump has consistently critiqued Engoron, recently utilizing Truth Social to brand the judge as a “Trump Hating Judge” who is “unfair, unhinged, and vicious” in his pursuit against him.
The former president confirmed via Truth Social that he will be present in the courtroom to “fight for my name and reputation” at the trial’s commencement, and Attorney General James also intends to attend on Monday, potentially setting the stage for a confrontational exchange.
Prosecutors intend to call Trump and three of his children — Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka — who have all held senior executive roles in the Trump Organization, as part of their 28-witness lineup. Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer, and Michael Cohen, Trump’s ex-lawyer, are also anticipated to testify.
During a criminal trial the previous year, Weisselberg testified against the Trump Organization and received a five-month jail sentence for his involvement in a 15-year tax fraud scheme related to the company. The Trump Organization was convicted on multiple counts, including conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsification of business records, resulting in $1.6 million in fines.