Former President Donald Trump arrived in New York City on Sunday evening ahead of his court date the next morning in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against him and his company.
Trump was photographed entering Trump Tower in Midtown – a property he could be forced to surrender depending on the outcome of the trial – around 8 p.m. after campaigning for his 2024 presidential bid in Iowa earlier in the day.
“I’m going to court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation against a corrupt and racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who has campaigned on ‘get Trump’ and against a judge who hates Trump and is unfair, clumsy and vicious is PERSECUTION of me,” he wrote shortly before midnight on his social media platform Truth Social.
The trial, presided over by Judge Arthur Engoron, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with opening statements from both sides – James’ team and lawyers for Trump, the Trump Organization and co-defendants, including the former president’s sons and longtime associates.
Trump and his sons, as well as his former lawyer Michael Cohen, are all listed as potential witnesses in the non-jury trial.
However, the former president and his close aides are not expected to testify for several weeks after the trial begins, which is expected to last about three months.
Still, his expected court appearance on Monday is unusual for the 45th president, who is under multiple criminal and civil investigations.
He did not appear in court when his company was convicted of tax fraud last year, nor did he show his face during a trial earlier this year in which a jury found him responsible for the sexual assault of writer E. Jean Carroll.
James has alleged that Trump and his company repeatedly lied and overstated his assets in financial reports to secure large loans and make business deals.
She accused Trump of exaggerating his wealth by as much as $3.6 billion in the most recent court filing.
Trump’s place to rest on Sunday night could also be the chopping block. He reportedly claimed his three-story, gold-plated Trump Tower penthouse was almost three times its actual size and was worth $327 million.
No apartment in New York City has ever sold for anywhere near that price, James said.
Engoron has already ruled that Trump ran a years-long fraud scheme by lying on company documents and inflating the value of his assets – the lawsuit’s main claim before the trial began.
Tuesday’s ruling also revoked Trump’s business licenses in the Big Apple and could force Trump to give up his NYC-based properties, including Trump Tower.
The two-time GOP nominee called the penalties “a corporate death penalty” and denied any wrongdoing. He claimed his financial reports contained a disclaimer that they should not be trusted and excused him for possible errors.
Engoron will decide six remaining claims in James’ lawsuit after trial.
James’ lawsuit is one of four separate cases filed against Trump – in four different states: New York, Florida, Washington DC and Georgia.
He is accused of a “hush money” case in the Big Apple, accused of misusing confidential national security documents in Florida, and accused of influencing the 2020 election results in cases in Georgia and D.C.
With post wires.