Former US President Donald Trump is set to testify in a civil fraud trial in New York, marking a key moment in a case that could affect his business empire.
The case revolves around alleged fraudulent accounting practices that inflated the value of Trump’s properties, including golf courses and apartment towers.
New York state attorneys claim that these practices provided him with favorable financing terms and increased his wealth by $2 billion. The state attorney general, Letitia James, is seeking a $250 million fine and business sanctions against Trump and his sons.
Unlike the criminal cases he faces, this trial will not result in prison time but could damage his public image. Trump has taken advantage of the experience to solicit campaign donations, portraying himself as a victim of political targeting.
However, it represents a significant threat to his carefully cultivated image as a billionaire with luxurious resorts and golf courses to his name.
The lawsuit revealed evidence suggesting that company executives, including Trump’s sons, were involved in manipulating property values. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified that Trump had instructed him to falsify financial statements to increase his net worth.
Throughout the trial, Trump has displayed frustration and anger, repeatedly criticizing the proceedings and the individuals involved, both inside and outside the courtroom. He has been fined for breaching a limited restriction order due to their confrontation.
This legal battle could hinder Trump’s potential political comeback, as it is expected to keep him away from the campaign for a significant portion of the upcoming year.
Nevertheless, polls indicate strong support among Republican voters for Trump’s potential presidential nomination.
The trial was initially scheduled to last until early December, but it may end earlier as the state presented its final witnesses. Trump’s daughter Ivanka is also expected to testify, although she is not a defendant in the case.
The outcome of this trial has implications for Trump’s reputation and business ventures, regardless of whether it has any impact on his political ambitions.