Former President Donald Trump is expected to be called as a witness on Monday in the New York attorney general’s civil fraud lawsuit against him and his company. Trump’s testimony comes after his adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr., faced questioning last week.
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Background on NY’s Investigation Into Trump Org
The fraud investigation led by AG Letitia James first became public knowledge in 2020. After a lengthy probe, James’ office filed a $250 million lawsuit in September accusing Trump, the Trump Organization, and executives of inflating asset valuations for loan and tax benefits.
The defendants have denied wrongdoing, though a judge has already found them liable for fraud. Now the trial is focused on determining damages and potential penalties.
Before Trump himself testifies, two of his children provided testimony under oath last week. Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were questioned about their involvement in preparing the company’s financial statements central to the alleged fraud scheme.
Trump Previously Fined for Violating Gag Order
This won’t be the first time Trump takes the witness stand during the trial. Late last month, the judge fined Trump $10,000 after determining he violated a limited gag order related to the case.
Trump was barred from commenting on the judge’s staff after disparaging a court clerk on social media. When he later made public remarks alluding to a “very partisan” person next to the judge, the judge hauled Trump in to explain himself.
After claiming he was referring to Michael Cohen rather than the clerk, Trump was found not credible and held in contempt.
Trump Accuses James of Political Motivations
While not Trump’s first time testifying, it will be his first testimony directly related to the fraud allegations. Outside the courthouse previously, Trump has repeatedly accused AG James of pursuing the case against him for political reasons.
James initiated her investigation after Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress about Trump inflating valuations. Cohen also took the stand during the trial, though Trump visibly reacted with disbelief to his former fixer’s claims.
If found guilty, Trump faces up to $250 million in penalties and could be barred from doing business in New York. As the trial continues, Trump will now have his turn to address the jury directly regarding allegations he knowingly provided false financial information.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trump’s Legal Issues
What is Trump accused of in the New York case?
Inflating property valuations to get better loan/insurance terms and understating values for tax breaks. The judge already found the Trumps liable for fraud.
What other legal issues does Trump currently face?
A criminal probe over Election interference in Georgia, lawsuits over Jan. 6, and a DOJ investigation into classified docs at Mar-a-Lago.
Who is heading the NY civil case?
NY Attorney General Letitia James. She argues Trump was the primary beneficiary of fraudulent practices by the Trump Organization.
What kind of penalties could Trump face if found guilty?
Up to $250 million in damages, plus bans from serving as a NY company director or officer. The exact amounts are still being determined.
How has Trump responded to the NY lawsuit?
He has accused AG James of conducting a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Trump maintains any financial discrepancies were unintentional mistakes by accountants.