Donald Trump returns to his civil fraud trial, but star witness Michael Cohen will not be there


NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump returns to a New York City courthouse Tuesday to be a court spectator A civil fraud trial threatens to cripple his real estate empire.

Trump voluntarily attended the first three days of the trial, from October 2 to 4. He turned around He appears at campaign stops By filing a complaint about the case at every opportunity in front of the television cameras located in the hallway outside the courtroom.

Now he will return, according to his lawyer, accompanied by enhanced security measures inside and outside the Manhattan court. His appearance was initially supposed to coincide with the testimony of Michael Cohen, his former lawyer-turned-enemy. But Cohen’s scheduled appearance on the witness stand has been postponed until at least next week due to a health problem.

Cohen said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he is not evading Trump. He said Monday that he expects his estranged former boss to be in the courtroom when he testifies.

Cohen said in a text message: “I am grateful that the medical condition, although very painful, does not require immediate action.” “I expect to appear as soon as the pain subsides. When I testify, I’m sure Donald will be there, sitting with his attorney at the defendant’s table.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James lawsuit It is alleged against Trump that he and his company defrauded banks, insurance companies and others by grossly overstating the value of his assets and inflating his net worth on paper used to make deals and secure financing.

The attorney general began investigating Trump in 2019 after Cohen testified before Congress that the billionaire politician had a history of misrepresenting the value of assets to obtain favorable loan terms and tax advantages.

Instead of Cohen, Trump’s visit to the courtroom will likely overlap with the appeal of testimony from his company’s assistant comptroller, Donna Kidder. State attorneys on Tuesday are also expected to call Jack Weisselberg, the son of Allen Weisselberg, who arranged the financing for Trump when he was an executive at Ladder Capital.

During his first visit to the court earlier this month, Trump said the trial was a “scam” and accused James, a Democrat, of trying to hurt his election chances.

After Trump slandered a key court employee on social media, the judge summoned him to a closed conference on the second day of the trial and issued a limited gag order, warning those involved in the case not to smear his staff. The judge also ordered Trump to delete the post.

Trump’s first trip to trial attracted hordes of media and led to beefed-up courtroom security, including additional checkpoints, metal barriers along the streets and Secret Service agents lining the courtroom walls.

Trump’s return to court comes a day after the judge in his criminal election interference case in Washington, D.C., issued a narrow gag order barring him from making statements targeting prosecutors, potential witnesses and court staff.

In a preliminary decision last month, The judge resolved the main claim in James’ lawsuit That Trump and his company committed years of fraud by overstating the value of Trump’s assets and net worth in his financial statements.

As punishment, Judge Arthur Engoron ordered that a court-appointed receiver take control of certain Trump companies, putting future oversight of Trump Tower and other landmark properties in doubt. The Court of Appeal has since Prohibited enforcement For this aspect of governance, at least for now.

The trial concerns six remaining claims in the lawsuit, including allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsification of business records.

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