Donald Trump showed up again Tuesday at the Manhattan court whereù he is judged for fraud on the value of his real estate assets, a trial which he seeks to bring transform into a grandstand, up to see yourself sharply reprimanded by his judge.
Judge Arthur Engoron deplored a “degrading” publication by the former Republican president who had attacked his clerk a little earlier on his Truth social network, speaking of her as a “fiancée of (Chuck) Schumer”, elected New Yorker and leader of the Democrats in the Senate.
“Personal attacks against members of my team are unacceptable,” thundered the magistrate, without naming Donald Trump, who was sitting opposite him. The publication was deleted and the judge ordered all parties not to do it again under penalty of sanctions.
Since the opening of his trial, at each of his arrivals in the courtroom, or during breaks, Donald Trump does not miss an opportunity to denounce in front of the journalists' cameras “a sham” of justice, “a rigged trial ” or “fraudulent” and “electoral interference” to prevent him from returning to the White House in 2024.
Tuesday, before entering the courtroom, the one who dominates his competitors in the polls for the future Republican primaries, once again attacked the Attorney General of the State of New York, Letitia James, “very corrupt” and “extremely incompetent”. The day before, he had described this African-American Democratic representative as “racist”.
– “Witch hunt” –
In the courtroom, the 77-year-old Republican billionaire attended the debates, for the moment very technical, in silence, often with a sullen expression or expressing his weariness. He was seated between his two main lawyers, Alina Habba and Chris Kise, and opposite his judge, Arthur Engoron, whom he called a “thug.”
The presence of Donald Trump was not not required by law at the opening of this civil trial, which will last several weeks, even if he is part of the list of witnesses who will be heard.
Last spring, he never appeared at a previous civil trial in New York, which ended with his resounding conviction to pay five million in damages for sexual assault and defamation of a former journalist, E. Jean Carroll.
This time, he does not fail to pose as the victim of a legal scheme, while he is criminally charged in four different cases, the trials of which should take place in 2024, for some in the middle of the Republican Party primaries.
“I want to see this witch hunt with my own eyes,” he said on Monday. This theory of judicial persecution was espoused that same evening on the favorite channel of American conservatives, Fox News. He promised to be present on Wednesday.
If he does not risk going to prison in this civil trial, he is playing big in this affair, which threatens to make him lose control of his empire economic, in addition to financial penalties of up to $250 million.
– “Repeated fraud” –
Donald Trump, Eric Trump and another of his sons, Donald Trump Jr, are targeted, along with other leaders of the Trump Organization, by a civil complaint from Letitia James , which accuses them of having inflated their assets colossally to obtain more favorable loans from banks and better insurance conditions.
Accusations brushed aside by the Trump camp. Since Monday, Donald Trump has readily mocked justice for having only valued his luxurious Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida at $18 million, when according to him it would be worth $1.5 billion.
The case concerns numerous other real estate properties of the Trump Organization, such as the Trump Tower or the 40 Wall Street building in New York, as well as golf courses.
Even before the trial begins , Judge Engoron estimated last week in a damning decision for Donald Trump that “repeated fraud” had been established, and that the public prosecutor's office had demonstrated overvaluations of assets between “812 million and 2.2 billion dollars per year ” from 2014 to 2021.
As a result, the magistrate ordered the withdrawal of business licenses in the State of New York from Donald Trump and his sons, directors of the Trump Organization, as well as the confiscation of companies targeted by the complaint, so that they can be entrusted to liquidators.
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