Former President Donald Trump appeared in a New York courthouse on Monday as he, his family and his companies face a $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
James filed a lawsuit last year against the Trump Organization, Trump and his adult sons, accusing them of lying to lenders and insurers about the value of their properties for years to get more favorable terms. She is seeking $250 million in damages and asking a court to bar the Trumps from running businesses in New York.
Trump attorney calls loan transactions in question ‘successful,’ ‘profitable’
Update 12:20 p.m. EDT Oct. 2: Chris Kise, a lawyer representing Trump, said during opening statements on Monday that evidence will show that the asset valuations in question comply with regulatory requirements, CNN reported.
“President Trump has made billions of dollars building one of the most successful real estate empires in the world,” Kise said in court, according to the news network. “He has made a fortune literally about being right about real estate.”
He said that Trump did not intend to defraud the banks, calling loan transactions “successful” and “profitable,” NBC News reported.
“The banks made well over $100 million,” he said.
Attorney for AG’s office asks judge to bar Trump from doing business in NY
Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 2: Kevin Wallace, an attorney for the New York Attorney General’s Office, asked a judge to block Trump from doing business in New York in opening statements at the start of the former president’s civil trial, CNN reported.
“While it may be one thing to exaggerate for Forbes magazine... you cannot do it while conducting business in the state of New York,” Wallace said in court, according to CNN.
“Year after year, loan after loan, the defendants misrepresented Mr. Trump’s net worth to maintain those favorable interest rates.”
See photos from Monday’s court appearance
Update 11:50 a.m. EDT Oct. 2: Photos showed Trump and James as they listened to court proceedings Monday in New York.
James: ‘No one is above the law’
Update 10:15 a.m. EDT Oct. 2: Speaking outside the courthouse on Monday, James said Trump and others charged in the civil case “committed persistent and repeated fraud.”
“My message is simple: No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law, and it is my responsibility and my duty and my job to enforce it,” she said. “The law is both powerful and fragile, and today in court, we will prove our case.”
Trump calls case ‘a scam and a sham’
Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Oct. 2: Trump called the civil case against him “a scam and a sham” ahead of the start of his trial in New York City on Tuesday.
“This is a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time,” the former president told reporters Monday.
Original report: Trump shared his intent to appear in court Sunday on social media, writing, “I’m going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation.”
He denied wrongdoing and accused James and Judge Arthur Engoron of being biased against him.
“THIS WHOLE CASE IS A SHAM!!!” he wrote. “See you in Court – Monday morning.”
In a statement released Monday, the attorney general said that for years, Trump “falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system.”
“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,” she said.
“No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country.”
The start of the civil trial comes after an appeals court last week rejected an attempt by Trump’s attorneys to delay it. On Tuesday, Engoron ruled that Trump had committed fraud while building his real estate empire, years before he became president, and that no trial was needed to prove the claims at the center of James’ suit, The New York Times reported.
Trump and his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, were listed as possible witnesses in the case, although it was not immediately clear whether they would be called to testify, according to CNN, Engoron has said that the trial could go on until December, The Associated Press reported.
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