A $250 million civil fraud lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general’s office against Donald Trump, his company and two of his children is set to go to trial Monday in a case that could have widespread implications for the former president’s businesses.
The no-jury trial in Manhattan is expected to last about three months, concluding by Dec. 22, and will be decided by Judge Arthur Engoron.
The judge recently sided in part with state Attorney General Letitia James’ office, finding that Trump committed repeated acts of fraud for years that included lying to banks and insurers by both overvaluing and undervaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth by billions of dollars.
Trump’s arguments to defend the fraudulent statements are based in “a fantasy world, not the real world,” Engoron wrote in a 35-page ruling last week.
The ruling, which allowed the case to go to trial this week, will also have practical repercussions for Trump’s numerous limited liability companies, or LLCs. The judge’s order set in motion a dissolution process for entities like Trump Organization LLC, which has helped expand the Trump brand over the years.
The outstanding issues in the case, beyond what Engoron ruled on last week, will be resolved at trial.
Trump’s lead attorney in the case, Christopher Kise, called the ruling “outrageous” and said he planned to appeal.
Trump has repeatedly disparaged Engoron, including as recently as Sunday night when he called Engoron a “Trump Hating Judge who is unfair, unhinged, and vicious in his PURSUIT of me” in a post on Truth Social.
Trump confirmed Sunday on Truth Social that he would be in the courtroom for the opening of the trial “to fight for my name and reputation.” He had been expected to attend the first two days of the proceedings.
Asked Friday at a campaign stop in California whether he planned on attending the trial in person, Trump said, “I may, I may.”
James plans to be in the courtroom Monday, according to a person familiar with James’ plans. That sets up a potential faceoff between the attorney general and Trump.
Trump and three of his children, Don Jr. and Eric, who both serve as senior executives in the Trump Organization, and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, are among the 28 witnesses prosecutors plan to call.
Allen Weisselberg, the company’s former chief financial officer, is also set to take the stand, in addition to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer.
In a criminal trial last year, Weisselberg testified against the Trump Organization and was sentenced to five months in jail in connection with his role in the company’s 15-year tax fraud scheme. The Trump Organization was convicted on 17 counts related to conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records and was hit with $1.6 million in fines.