New York City: Former US President Donald Trump arrived on Monday morning at a courthouse in lower Manhattan, New York City, where a civil trial against him is scheduled to begin, CNN reported.
This lawsuit, brought by the New York attorney general, alleges that Trump, his adult sons, their businesses, and Trump Organisation executives were involved in fraudulent activities.
Trump is listed as a potential witness for both the attorney general and the defence, although it remains uncertain whether he will be called to testify, according to CNN.
There have been various attempts to exclude Trump from the ballot in the upcoming year based on his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. However, the Supreme Court recently declined to entertain one of these challenges, rejecting an appeal from John Anthony Castro, a lesser-known candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Castro's case rested on a post-Civil War provision of the 14th Amendment, disqualifying any American official who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" or provided "aid or comfort" to insurrectionists.
Notably, the case was denied without any comment or recorded vote. Nonetheless, there are still ongoing 14th Amendment challenges against Trump in Minnesota and Colorado, with trials scheduled for later this year.
Meanwhile, Trump's campaign continues to criticise Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James, characterising the upcoming fraud trial as politically motivated. “Letitia James made clear that ‘getting Trump’ was the motivating force behind her campaign for attorney general,” the Trump campaign said in a new statement, which also referred to James as a “Democratic activist,” according to CNN.
Last September, Letitia James brought a USD 250 million lawsuit alleging that Trump and his co-defendants repeatedly engaged in fraud by inflating asset values on financial statements to secure favourable terms on commercial real estate loans and insurance policies.
In response, Attorney General Letitia James emphasized the principle that no one is above the law, regardless of their status or wealth. She stated, "My message is simple: No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law."
"The law is both powerful and fragile, and today in court we will prove our case," James said before the expected start of former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial in Manhattan.
Last week, the attorney general noted that a Supreme Court judge found Trump and his co-defendants liable for fraud for grossly inflating asset valuations on financial statement, CNN reported.
Additionally, the trial is expected to provide insight into Trump's business operations and net worth. The attorney general's office has alleged that Trump inflated his net worth by up to USD 3.6 billion in various years between 2011 and 2021.
Trump's attorneys have countered these claims, arguing that asset valuations are subjective, and they are still assessing the implications of the ruling for the company's future, CNN reported.