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Trump back in a New York courtroom for civil fraud charges

Former president Donald Trump returned to court in New York Tuesday for his civil fraud trial, but an expected face-to-face moment with a key witness.
Trump back in a New York courtroom for civil fraud charges
Posted at 4:08 PM, Oct 17, 2023

Before entering a New York courtroom Tuesday, former President Donald Trump reiterated his claim that the civil fraud charges that he is being tried for have no basis and are politically motivated.

"This is a witch hunt by a radical lunatic, the attorney general. She shouldn't be allowed to be an attorney general, she's horrible. And it's very unfair. We don't get a jury trial. There's no jury and we don't have, somebody said we could've checked a box or something. We don't check a box," said Trump. 

Earlier on social media, Trump also took aim at the judge handling the case, blasting Arthur Engoron as a "radical" and "highly political."

In her lawsuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges Trump and his company inflated the value of his properties to get better loan and insurance rates.

Trump denies any misconduct and claims his assets were actually undervalued. He says disclaimers on his financial statements essentially advise banks and insurers to investigate the numbers themselves.

What prompted James' investigation was testimony before Congress from Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen. Trump had planned to be present for Cohen's testimony in this trial, but Cohen's appearance is delayed until at least next week.

Instead, Trump sat in on testimony from one of his company's accountants and a commercial real estate executive. He's attending the trial voluntarily, but complains the proceedings are keeping him off the campaign trail.

"I should be in Iowa now. I should be in New Hampshire now. I should be in South Carolina now. Someplace else campaigning. The good news is we're about 60 points up on everybody and we're leading President Biden by 11 and that's why they're doing this, because this is all coming out of Washington," said Trump.

The New York attorney general is seeking $250 million in damages and a court order permanently banning Trump from running a business in New York.

The trial is expected to last until December.

SEE MORE: Judge in Trump's Jan. 6 trial issues partial gag order

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