OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump appeared in court in Manhattan on Monday morning for the first day of his trial on fraud charges.
New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into Trump and accused the former president of overvaluing his assets. Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in late September that Trump and his company committed fraud while building his real estate empire.
Judge Engoron found that Trump had lied about his wealth and overvalued his assets to banks, insurers, and others.
According to James, Trump “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” with the help of his children. Trump’s attempt to have the civil trial postponed was denied by a court of appeals in New York State.
As a form of punishment, Engoron ordered the revocation of several of Trump’s business licenses, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to operate in New York. The judge has stated that he will maintain the status quo of an independent monitor overseeing the Trump Organization.
But a video of the judge has gone viral after he donned a big smile when the camera did a close-up.
The judge in Trump’s case smiles for his closeup. What an absolute clown show. pic.twitter.com/9wwE31Ci5q
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) October 2, 2023
Judge Engoron ruled last month that the former president, via his businesses under the Trump Organization umbrella, practiced deception regarding the valuation of his various businesses, even though two-page disclaimers were routinely filed with financial statements indicating such valuations were internal estimates made in good faith.
Meanwhile, a trial scheduled in October in a case brought by AG James will proceed. She is seeking $250 million in damages in the civil case, which Trump and his supporters see as little more than an attempt to harm his campaign, as well as bar him permanently from doing business in New York state.
“Engoron’s ruling is likely to cause a shockwave across New York in general, with many firms now likely to review how they handle their financial estimates and information if the government, alongside the far left judiciary, is left in charge of interpreting their finances,” the National Pulse reported.
“Trump’s lawyers argue there was no evidence of public harm caused by Trump’s actions, and that some of the allegations were even barred by the statute of limitations. The leftist judge refused to throw out the case” however, the report continued.
“I have been unfairly sued by the Trump Hating Democrat Attorney General of New York State, Letitia James, over the false fact that I inflated my Financial Statements in order to borrow money from Banks, etc.,” Trump raged in response to his Truth Social platform.
“The Judge in the case, Arthur F. Engoron, refused to allow this case to go to the ‘Commercial Division,’ where it belongs because he is a Trump Hater beyond even A.G. James, who campaigned against me spewing horrible inflammatory statements which are False & Defamatory. I am not even allowed a Jury!” he added.
AG James also issued a statement on Monday morning ahead of the trial.
“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system. We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during the trial,” James wrote in a statement.
“No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does,” she added.