NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. is scheduled to testify on Wednesday afternoon in a New York civil fraud trial that accuses the former U.S. president and his family businesses of inflating property values for lenders and insurers.
Donald Jr., executive vice president of the Trump Organization and a co-defendant in the suit, will be the first of Trump’s adult children to take the stand, followed by Eric and Ivanka Trump. Their father is scheduled to testify Monday.
The case is one of several legal issues facing Trump as he campaigns to recapture the White House. Polls show him leading his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination to face Democrat Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.
The elder Trump also faces four separate criminal charges, including one related to trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in Washington and Georgia.
The lawsuit by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges that Trump, his two adult sons and some of their family businesses inflated their assets by billions of dollars to get better loan terms.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and has repeatedly accused James and Judge Arthur Engoran of political bias.
“Leave my children alone Engoron. You are a disgrace to the legal profession!” she wrote on social media on Wednesday morning.
Trump is under a limited gag order barring him from speaking publicly about court employees, but has violated it twice and was fined $15,000 for assaulting Engron’s top clerk. He did not face sanctions for the attacks on Engron or James.
A Washington judge has also imposed a limited gag order overseeing his federal election tampering investigation. Trump has accused both of violating free speech.
appears from time to time
Trump was not required to attend the hearing, but showed up occasionally for a dramatic reunion with his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, who testified against his former boss last week.
Appearing face-to-face with Trump for the first time since Trump’s acrimonious break five years ago, Cohen said Trump instructed him to raise asset values to achieve his desired arbitrary net worth.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump would appear for Wednesday’s hearing. A campaign event is scheduled for Thursday in Houston, when Eric Trump will be there to testify.
Donald Jr., who along with co-defendant Eric Trump largely took over management of the Trump Organization from his father in 2017, is a central player in the case overseeing the crown jewel of the Trump real estate empire.
She also served as a political attack dog for her father, and her testimony could be another flashpoint in a trial punctuated by sharp exchanges between lawyers and witnesses and heated arguments over the admissibility of testimony.
In September, before the investigation began, Engron found Trump had fraudulently inflated his net worth and ordered the liquidation of companies that controlled pillars of his real estate portfolio, including Trump Tower in Manhattan. That ruling is on hold while Trump appeals.
The trial is mostly about damages. James is seeking at least $250 million in fines, a permanent ban on doing business in New York against Trump and his two adult sons, and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.
Report by Jack Quinn; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Otis
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