Former US President Donald J. Trump (C) exits the courtroom for lunch, after attending the third week of his civil fraud trial in New York, New York, USA, 17 October 2023. EFE/EPA/PETER FOLEY

Trump returns to New York, complains trial disturbs his campaign

New York, Oct 17 (EFE). – Former US President Donald Trump returned to the New York court on Tuesday for the Trump Organization fraud case in which he is one of the defendants, repeating complaints that the trial is unfair and is interfering with his presidential ambitions.

The businessman’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is now one of his biggest enemies, was due to testify on Tuesday but postponed citing a health problem.

The session consisted of the usual numbers, spreadsheets and email analysis.

According to local media, a company accountant said that former CFO Allen Weisselberg urged her to omit figures in a property report to increase its value.

A former real estate executive who pointed out discrepancies in valuations also testified.

These valuations are at the heart of the civil case: prosecutors accuse Trump, his two sons and two Trump Organization executives of inflating the value of assets for years to get favorable terms from banks and insurers, and are seeking $250 million in damages.

Trump entered the courtroom for the fourth time after attending the first three days of the trial – which began on 2 October – and decided to stay despite Cohen’s withdrawal, taking the opportunity to complain to the media that the legal process was hindering his plans to return to the White House.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James exits the courtroom at lunch, after attending the third week of his civil fraud trial in New York, New York, USA, 17 October 2023. EFE/EPA/PETER FOLEY

Prosecutor Letitia James, who was also present and whom Trump called “incompetent”, also addressed the media to double down on her arguments: that the former president’s real estate empire was “built on lies and on sinking sand”.

James also added that “at the end of the day, justice will be served, and I’m confident that victory will be mine.”

Prosecutors scored a first victory even before the trial began when Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump and the other defendants were responsible for the ongoing fraud at the Trump Organization, and issued an order revoking their New York business licenses, which they have tried to stop.

Unlike his previous visit, during which he attacked Judge Engoron and received a “gag order” preventing him from commenting on the court’s staff, Trump said on Tuesday, “I respect the judge, I like the judge… I like him, but it’s not fair because I don’t know how he could make a fair decision on this.”

However, he went on to add: “He’s got all the Democrats pushing him left and right, pushing him around like a pinball machine.”

Trump also criticized another ‘gag’ order imposed on him by a judge on Monday in a separate case in Washington, D.C., for trying to reverse the 2020 election and encourage the attack on the Capitol.

Monday’s gag order prohibits him from attacking or insulting the prosecutor, court staff and witnesses to prevent their ongoing testimony from interfering with the trial.

Trump is expected to return to the New York civil fraud trial on Wednesday, which will last until the end of December and in which the former president is also expected to take the stand. EFE