NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump returns to a New York courthouse on Tuesday to attend the civil fraud trial that threatens to destroy his real estate empire.
Trump voluntarily took part in the first three days of negotiations from October 2nd to 4th. He turned his appearance into a campaign stop, complaining about the case at every opportunity to the television cameras in the hallway outside the courtroom.
According to his lawyer, he will now be back accompanied by increased security inside and outside the Manhattan courthouse. His appearance was originally scheduled to coincide with the testimony of Michael Cohen, his former lawyer-turned-enemy. But Cohen’s scheduled appearance on the witness stand was postponed until at least next week due to a health problem.
Cohen said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was not avoiding Trump. On Monday, he said he expected his estranged ex-boss to be in the courtroom when he testified.
“I am grateful that the medical condition, while incredibly painful, does not require immediate intervention,” Cohen said in a text message. “I expect to show up as soon as the pain subsides. When I testify, I am sure Donald will be there and will be at the defendant’s table with his lawyers.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James claims in her lawsuit against Trump that he and his company deceived banks, insurance companies and others by massively overstating his assets and inflating his net worth through the paperwork required to conduct deals and secure them was used for financing.
The attorney general began investigating Trump in 2019 after Cohen testified before Congress that the billionaire politician had a history of misrepresenting the value of assets to obtain favorable loan terms and tax benefits.
Instead of Cohen, Trump’s court visit is likely to coincide with the resumption of testimony by his company’s deputy controller, Donna Kidder. Prosecutors on Tuesday are also expected to call Jack Weisselberg, the son of Trump Organization veteran Allen Weisselberg, who arranged financing for Trump as an executive at Ladder Capital.
During his first visit to court earlier this month, Trump said the trial was a “fraud” and accused James, a Democrat, of trying to hurt his chances in the election.
After Trump slandered a key court official on social media, the judge called him into a closed session on the second day of the trial and issued a limited confidentiality order in which he warned those involved in the trial not to insult his staff. The judge also ordered Trump to delete the post.
Trump’s first trip to the trial drew throngs of news media and led to increased security at the courthouse, including additional checkpoints, metal barricades along the streets and Secret Service agents on the courtroom walls.
Trump’s return to court comes a day after the judge in his criminal trial on election interference charges in Washington, D.C., issued a narrow gag order barring him from making statements to prosecutors, potential witnesses and court staff.
In a pretrial ruling last month, a judge resolved the main claim in James’ lawsuit, ruling that Trump and his company committed years of fraud by exaggerating the value of Trump’s assets and net worth in his financial reports.
As punishment, Judge Arthur Engoron ordered a court-appointed receiver to take control of some Trump companies, calling into question future oversight of Trump Tower and other key properties. An appeals court has now blocked enforcement of this aspect of the ruling, at least for now.
The lawsuit concerns six remaining claims in the lawsuit, including allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsification of business records.