Trump’s high-stakes trial: shocking accusations, fiery defense, and key witnesses revealed
Former President Donald Trump is set to step into the Manhattan courtroom once again. This time, it is for the inaugural hearing of a trial where he, along with two of his sons, faces charges of bank and insurance fraud.
In September 2022, Attorney General Letitia James accused the tycoon, Donald Jr., and Eric of inflating the assets of the Trump Organization for decades to secure more advantageous financing. She is seeking a hefty penalty of $250 million.
Trump’s trial. The fraud accusation
Just days ago, the presiding judge, Arthur Engoron, handed down a verdict stating, “The evidence clearly establishes the culpability of the three defendants in fraud.” They are accused of providing “false financial information,” artificially inflating their holding’s income to a staggering $3.6 billion. Unsurprisingly, this verdict sent Trump into a fury. He took to his social media platform, Truth, to accuse the judge of “hating him even more than Attorney James.”
Trump’s vigorous defense
The former president has consistently and passionately asserted that the Trump Organization stands as a powerful and influential corporation. He believes that it is unjustly subjected to vilification and slander amidst what he characterizes as a relentless and politically motivated witch hunt. Trump fervently maintains that the organization’s standing and integrity have been unjustly besmirched. He remains unwavering in his defense against the allegations brought forth during this protracted and contentious legal battle. In his view, the Trump Organization remains a significant player in the business world. It is maligned and challenged by what he perceives as political machinations.
Trial begins today
Indeed, the trial commences today, with Trump expected to attend at least the first day, if not the entire week, according to informed sources. During a campaign event in California last Friday, he remained coy about his precise plans. He responded to queries about his courtroom appearance with a non-committal, “I might, I might.” If he doesn’t appear on the first day, the former president could return to court as a witness, as his name is among the 28 individuals Attorney James intends to call to the stand. This list includes Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, a pivotal figure in the New York Prosecutor’s investigation. His daughter Ivanka, co-defendants Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, and numerous former Trump Organization executives.
First to take the stand: former accountant Donald Bender
The inaugural witness will be former accountant Donald Bender from Mazars USA. He severed his business ties with Trump last year upon learning of James’ investigation. Bender had previously testified in the 2022 criminal trial of the Trump Organization. The organization was accused and subsequently found guilty of aiding certain executives in tax evasion. On that occasion, the former accountant disclosed that between 2009 and 2010, the tycoon’s tax returns showed substantial losses exceeding one billion dollars.