Former President Trump on Monday dismissed a New York fraud trial set to begin over his business dealings as a “scam” and a “sham” as he attacked prosecutors and the judge in the case.
Trump arrived in court just before the trial proceedings began. He called the proceedings part of the “single greatest witch hunt of all time.”
“We have a rogue judge who ruled that properties are worth a tiny fraction… of what they actually are. We have a racist attorney general who’s a horror show who ran on the basis that she was going to get Trump before she knew anything about me,” Trump said to reporters gathered in the courthouse.
“It’s a scam. It’s a sham. Just so you know my financial statements are phenomenal,” he added.
Monday marked the start of Trump’s fraud trial in a sweeping civil case alleging decades of fraud by him and his businesses.
Following a multi-year investigation, James’s office sued Trump, the Trump Organization and his two adult sons — Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — last September, claiming the former president’s company falsely inflated and deflated the value of its assets to receive lower taxes and better insurance coverage.
The attorney general’s office is asking for $250 million in financial penalties and a ban on Trump and his children from serving as officers or directors of New York companies.
Judge Arthur Engoron found Trump liable for fraud last week, ruling that New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) proved the crux of her case.
The decision stripped some of Trump’s business licenses and raised the potential for him to lose control of some of his famed properties. Engoron also rejected Trump’s effort to throw out the case, allowing six remaining elements to proceed to trial.
Trump has repeatedly attacked both Engoron and James over the case, including in the hours before the trial was set to begin.
The former president arrived at the courthouse around 9:30 a.m. Cameras inside the courthouse showed Eric Trump and Trump campaign aides Steven Chueng and Jason Miller arriving ahead of proceedings.
Trump spent the night in New York City on Sunday after flying there from Iowa, where he held campaign events over the weekend.