The $250 million civil trial involving former Republican President Donald Trump's Trump Organization began in New York State Supreme Court this morning.
New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to call Trump, three of his adult children, other Trump Organization insiders and Trump's ex-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to testify. Cohen's congressional testimony about Trump inflating his assets to gain bank loans launched the financial fraud investigation in 2019.
Clifford Robert—lawyer for Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.—said Trump and his sons would all take the stand.
The news surprised many as Trump is notorious for
avoiding depositions or providing any statements under oath.
And with good reason as Trump is also known for lying consistently.
Given that personal trait, people weren't certain testifying was in Trump’s best interest. Unlike most mainstream media coverage, Trump will be fact-checked and there will be consequences for lying.
Many online had the same response to the news.
Although some saw possible motives for Trump's decision to testify.
On Sunday, Trump took to Truth Social to attack AG James and Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.
In a press release Monday, AG James stated:
"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 trial."
"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."
In a ruling last week, Justice Engoron found Trump, sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., and their business associates liable for fraud and ordered the dissolution of Trump’s New York businesses. Engoron canceled the defendants’ New York business certificates and ordered an independent receiver to oversee their dissolution.
Trump has faced a similar ruling before.
The Donald J. Trump Foundation—a New York-based tax-exempt charitable foundation formed in 1988 by the former President—was dissolved by court order in 2018 for financial impropriety and other legal violations.