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Donald Trump returns to court for $250m ‘rigged’ fraud trial brought by ‘radical lunatic’ | US News


Donald Trump has returned to court in the US for the fraud trial that he says is “rigged” and brought to court by a “radical lunatic” prosecutor.

As he arrived at the court in Manhattan for the start of the third week of proceedings, Trump, 77, told reporters “this is a rigged trial”.

The case against him, he said, was a “witch hunt by a radical lunatic attorney general [Letitia James] of New York State”.

Ms James, he said, “shouldn’t be allowed to be an attorney general, she’s horrible”.

Referring to the case against him, he added sarcastically that it was based on “a statute that’s never been used before, I’m the first one. Isn’t that nice?”

Prosecutors allege the tycoon, who leads the race to become the Republican candidate for the White House next year, committed fraud for years while building his property portfolio.

The case is centred on accusations that Trump inflated his assets and net worth from 2011 to 2021 to get hold of favourable bank loans and lower insurance premiums.

Ms James is seeking at least $250m (£201m) in fines and a permanent ban against Trump and his sons Donald Jr and Eric from running businesses in New York.

She also wants a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organisation. He could even lose Trump Tower.

Donald Trump sits in a Manhattan courthouse during the trial for his civil fraud case in New York
Image:
Mr Trump said the trial is ‘rigged’

A property valuer involved in assessing a building on Wall Street was expected to give evidence on Tuesday, along with an accountant familiar with the company’s bookkeeping methods.

Next week, the star witness in the case, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, is expected to take the stand.

Trump, who arrived fresh from a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday, said outside court that the true value of his assets, including his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, was “close to 100 times” what Ms James’ office claimed.

“The actual worth is much more than that, so therefore there’s no fraud,” he said.

Read more:
Trump loses business licence – makes ‘witch-hunt’ claim
Trump generated ‘more than $100m through fraud’
What are the investigations Trump is facing?

It’s one of four separate criminal prosecutions the former president faces in the US.

In addition, at London’s High Court on Monday, he began legal proceedings of his own against a London-based firm of intelligence consultants which he says claimed he engaged in “perverted sexual acts” in Russia.

Mr Trump says Orbis Business Intelligence, co-founded by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, compiled a dossier containing “false” rumours about him.

Orbis, however, argues that Trump was bringing the claim to address his “longstanding grievances” against the company and Mr Steele.

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