Former President Donald Trump arrived at court in New York on Monday for the start of a civil fraud trial where he is accused of inflating the value of his properties and assets.
“This is the continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time,” Trump said outside the courtroom, surrounded by his lawyers and presidential campaign team. He also accused New York Attorney General Letitia James — who brought the $250 million lawsuit against him last September — of being “racist” and “corrupt.”
Trump is alleged to have exaggerated his assets by billions to secure better terms on commercial real estate loans and insurance politics.
In a statement before the trial, James said that the ex-president’s net worth “has long been rooted in incredible fraud.”
“In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial,” she said.
If found guilty, Trump would have to pay $250 million in damages and could be barred from doing business in New York.
This is the first of several government trials the current Republican presidential frontrunner will face. Trump faces four other criminal indictments.
According to the attorney general’s office, Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion between 2011 and 2021. The former president has denied wrongdoing, arguing that asset valuations are subjective.
Trump is accused of six causes of action: falsifying business records, conspiracy to falsify business records, issuing false financial statements, conspiracy to falsify false financial statements, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.