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Closing arguments set to begin in Trump civil fraud case with the former president in court

In World
January 11, 2024

Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday morning in the civil fraud case against Donald Trump and his company, which could cost the former president up to $370 million and bar him from the New York real estate industry in which he made his name.

Trump is expected to be in attendance in state Judge Arthur Engoron’s courtroom for the arguments, but Engoron said Wednesday that Trump could not deliver some of those remarks himself after he refused to agree to refrain from personal attacks during his presentation.

Ahead of a town hall in Iowa on Wednesday night, Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he was being “forced” to return to New York for the closings, even though he is under no obligation to be there. “This is a rigged and unfair trial,” he wrote.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office brought the case alleging Trump and his company had engaged in fraud by overstating the value of his assets and properties in financial documents spanning over a decade, is expected to be in the courtroom, as well.

The arguments are scheduled to start shortly after 10 a.m. ET with lawyers for Trump, his two oldest sons and their company expected to talk for about two hours and 15 minutes. The AG’s lawyers will then give their presentation in the afternoon. Engoron gave them a similar amount of time, but they told him last week they anticipate they’ll need only an hour.

James filed her $250 million suit against Trump, the Trump Organization and top executives, including Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., in 2022 after a yearslong investigation into their business practices. Engoron found before the trial that Trump and his executives had engaged in repeated and persistent fraud. Among the outstanding issues is whether they’d had an intent to defraud.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and maintains his properties were worth even more than the inflated financial statements showed. He has also repeatedly argued he shouldn’t have to pay any damages because he never defaulted on any of his loans or insurance policies.

The AG’s office has said the Trumps “reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains through their unlawful conduct” and should pay over $370 million. James is also seeking a lifetime ban barring Trump and two of his top executives from being involved in the state’s real estate business, as well as a five-year ban on the Trump sons.

The trial started Oct. 2, and testimony wrapped in mid-December. Engoron said he expects to issue his ruling by the end of the month.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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