Former President Donald Trump is currently on trial in New York City for fraud. The trial could conclude with Trump having to pay upwards of $250 million in damages.
The Case Against Trump
The charges against Trump, filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleged that from 2011 to 2021, the former President made false and misleading financial claims that made him look wealthier. This made it easier for Trump to make deals and get financing.
The trial is a bench trial, which means there will be no jury. New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the case, will be the only person making a decision.
Since it’s a civil trial, there’s no chance of Trump going to prison if found guilty and he doesn’t have to make an appearance before the court.
Trump Already Found Guilty of Fraud
Engoron already ruled, on Tuesday, September 25th, that Trump was guilty of fraud. The ruling resulted in Trump’s and his adult sons’ business certificates being canceled, which means that they will no longer be able to do business in the state of New York.
The ruling, which is extraordinarily rare, has been called the “corporate death penalty” by legal experts. Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, vowed to appeal the decision. If upheld on appeal, the result could see Trump losing many New York properties, including the Trump Towers, a golf course, and a suburban estate.
“My message is simple, James said early Monday, “No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law.” Trump alleged that Attorney General James, who is Black, is racist, and that the case was a witch hunt.
A Short Trial?
The trial is set to go until December 22nd, although it will likely not go as long given that Engoron already settled the major question of whether or not Trump committed fraud.
During the three-year investigation, James found that Trump had claimed that 23 of his properties and assets cost hundreds if not billions more than their actual worth. Trump used these financial statements to obtain favorable deals and make his wealth appear greater than it actually was.
A Blow to Trump’s Image
The ruling and the fallout may do damage to Trump’s image as a successful deal-maker and wealthy entrepreneur.
Endless Legal Woes for Trump
The case is yet another in a series of legal setbacks for the former President. Earlier this year, a jury had found that Trump had sexually abused writer E. Jean Carroll and then defamed her in 2022 when he claimed the account was a fabrication. Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million by a jury.
Trump also currently faces 91 charges divided among four criminal cases. That’s 44 federal charges and 47 state charges, all of them felonies. On Friday, September 29th, Scott Hall, a Trump co-defendant charged in the Georgia election interference case, took a plea deal in which he will agree to testify in the case against others.
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