In a surprise move last week, the judge in the civil trial related to Donald Trump’s alleged fraud ruled that the prosecution was right. The former president, his children, his companies and many of his colleagues have been guilty of lying and overstating assets by more than $2 billion – more than 20 billion kroner – in documents for years. Among other things, he claimed that the penthouse apartment in Trump Tower was three times larger – 3,000 square meters instead of 1,000 square meters – than it actually was, and thus overstated its value by more than 2 billion kroner. The evidence was so overwhelming that there was no need for a plea hearing, according to the judge.
On Monday, according to sources in several American media outlets, Trump will appear before the same judge, Arthur Engoron, to deliver the opening statement. He didn’t have to do that, but now he will likely be sitting just a few feet away from the judge about whom he recently said these words in a social media post:
“I have a crazy judge who hates Trump, and he recently rushed this bogus case through a New York courthouse at unprecedented speed.”
While convicting Trump and his children, the judge revoked Trump’s business license for, among other things, Trump Tower and the Trump International Hotel.
Negotiations will now focus on why Trump and others used false information, and what the cost will be. Prosecutor Letitia James said the false certificates were used to win tax advantages and obtain better terms with banks and insurance companies. Accordingly, it is demanding a fine of $250 million, or about 2.7 billion kroner – and not allowing Trump and his children to operate companies in New York State.
The trial is expected to last three months, he said New York Post. Donald Trump himself is unlikely to speak during the proceedings on Monday, as he and his sons will be called as witnesses 25, 26 and 27, and it will likely be weeks before it is time for them to testify.
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