By: Nelson Kramer
Local News Editor
Former President Donald J. Trump faces 91 charges in four jurisdictions, including Georgia, Florida, New York, and Washington DC. In Manhattan, where he faces accusations of civil fraud. This trial is significant because Trump has been a long-time businessman in New York. Over the years, he has opened hotels like the Commodore, Trump Palace, and Trump Central Park Hotel. He faces charges of civil fraud, which means deceiving another party for one’s financial gain.
Lititia James started to investigate Trump’s actions in 2019 when she took office as New York’s attorney general. In her campaign, James promised to go after Trump based on the allegations that Trump deceived people like bankers by making misleading financial statements. James said to the press reporting on the trial, “it was a case where individuals have engaged in a patented practice of fraud and [I] will not sit idly by and allow anyone to subvert the law.”
Judge Arthur Engoron, a state supreme court justice, is overseeing the trial. Preceding the trial Judge Engoron acted to make the proceeding a bench trial, meaning he solely ruled the trial with no jury. According to CNN, experts speculate that Trump’s lawyers could have appealed for a jury, but decided not to. Judge Engoron made a pretrial ruling that Trump was guilty of civil fraud, so the trial’s main focus is to determine what Trump owes in penalties. Some of these penalties possibly include 250 million dollars, as well as barring Trump from commercial real-estate ventures and taking out loans in New York. Trump’s lawyers responded to the allegations of the creation of misleading financial statements by saying they were all false. The Wall Street Journal stated, “[Trump’s Lawyers] have argued that his business dealings under question have been profitable for all parties, with no indication of defaults or late payments on loans.”
Eric Trump, the son of Donald Trump, made a statement speculating about the case’s broader implications, he explained, “Our family is under assault for purely political reasons.” This doesn’t change that Trump has been convicted of civil fraud and will have to pay penalties. The first week of proceedings had a lot of pushback as Trump’s Lawyers successfully overturned judge Engorn’s original ruling. However, after their attempt to stay the trial, the appeals court judge overruled their request therefore the court will proceed as originally scheduled.
If the judge’s rulings go through, Trump’s business life in New York will drastically change. His company will lose ownership of Trump Tower, as well as other hotels and commercial real estate properties. Eric Trump continues to stand up for him, saying, “There is no person who has done more to transform the skyline of New York City than my father,”
(Sources: CNN, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, The Guardian, Vox, Time, CNBC)