October 2, 2023 - Trump civil fraud trial in New York begins

By Mike Hayes, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 10:01 p.m. ET, October 2, 2023
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9:10 a.m. ET, October 2, 2023

Donald Trump and his adult children on witness lists in New York civil fraud case

From CNN's Kara Scannell

Former President Donald Trump speaks as his sons Donald Trump Jr., left, and Eric Trump look on during an event in 2016 in Las Vegas.
Former President Donald Trump speaks as his sons Donald Trump Jr., left, and Eric Trump look on during an event in 2016 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Donald Trump, his adult children, and his closest business advisors could be called to testify during the civil fraud trial expected to begin Monday in New York.

Trump is listed on the witness lists submitted by the New York Attorney General and Trump’s legal team. The state and Trump’s lawyers need to be inclusive on their witness lists of any potential person they might want to call, or the judge could exclude the testimony. 

Trump previously sat for a deposition in the case and said he had little “if any” role in preparing the financial statements that a New York judge ruled last week were fraudulent.

Also on both lists are Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, defendants in the case and numerous current and former Trump Organization employees, including former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. Most of the witnesses have also testified in video depositions

In civil cases defendants can be called to testify and, if they refuse the jury, or in this case the judge, can use that against them in weighing the evidence. 

The New York attorney general’s office identified 28 witnesses they could call in the case, including Michael Cohen and Ivanka Trump. Ivanka Trump was initially a defendant in the case, but a New York appeals court struck her from the lawsuit saying the claims brought against her were too old.

Trump’s attorneys identified 127 possible witnesses that they would call, including some of the lenders behind the loans at issue in the lawsuit.

7:50 a.m. ET, October 2, 2023

Trump's civil fraud trial begins today. Here's what to know

From CNN's Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

Former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Maquoketa, Iowa, on September 20.
Former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Maquoketa, Iowa, on September 20. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump will be in attendance Monday in a New York courtroom for the start of the civil fraud trial against him, his eldest sons, their companies and Trump Organization executives.

Opening statements in the civil trial over inflated assets in fraudulent financial statements come less than a week after a shocking ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron that found Trump and his co-defendants are liable for “persistent and repeated” fraud.

The ruling was a significant victory for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the $250 million lawsuit last September alleging that Trump and his co-defendants committed repeated fraud in inflating assets on financial statements to get better terms on commercial real estate loans and insurance policies.

Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion in three separate years between 2011 and 2021, according to the attorney general’s office. Attorneys for Trump have refuted the claims, arguing that asset valuations are highly subjective and that they are still sorting through what the ruling means for the company’s future.

What's at stake at trial: Trump and his companies could be forced to pay hefty sums in damages for the profits they've allegedly garnered through their fraudulent business practices. 

Engoron will consider just how much the Trumps and their businesses will have to pay. 

The judge is expected to consider claims of business records fraud and insurance fraud alleged in the lawsuit in connection to high-profile properties, though he already determined some broad level of fraud was perpetuated.  

The six causes of action are falsifying business records, conspiracy to falsify business records, issuing false financial statements, conspiracy to falsify false financial statements, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

James' lawsuit also asks the court to consider banning the Trumps from serving as officers of a business in New York and to stop the company from engaging in business transactions for five years.

Read more about Trump's fraud trial.

7:51 a.m. ET, October 2, 2023

Trump says he will attend his civil fraud trial in New York

From CNN's Alayna Treene and Kristen Holmes

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on Sunday evening.
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on Sunday evening. James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump said he will go to court in New York for his civil fraud trial on Monday.

“I’m going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation,” he posted on Truth Social Sunday evening.

Trump had been expected to attend, and law enforcement and court employees had already been making security preparations for his potential appearance at the courthouse in Lower Manhattan on Monday and possibly Tuesday.

Trump’s plans started to become clear after a federal judge in Florida granted his request to postpone a deposition in a separate case because it would conflict with the start of the New York trial.

The civil fraud case – brought in September 2022 by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, his eldest sons, their companies and several executives – will begin at 10 a.m. Monday.

Remember: Last week, the judge overseeing the case dealt Trump a major blow in ruling that the former president is liable for fraud and that he overvalued his properties on his financial statements for a decade.

The ruling came in response to the lawsuit by James, who is seeking $250 million in damages, a ban on the Trumps from serving as officers of a business in New York, and a ban on the company from engaging in business transactions for five years.

7:51 a.m. ET, October 2, 2023

Trump fraud trial in New York will start today after appeals court ruling

From CNN's Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

Trump Tower is seen in New York in the early morning hours of Monday.
Trump Tower is seen in New York in the early morning hours of Monday. Laura Oliverio/CNN

The trial in the New York attorney general's civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, his eldest sons, their companies and several executives, is set to begin Monday after a state appellate court denied Trump's motion to stay the trial last week.

The trial comes in the wake of state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling Tuesday that Trump and his co-defendants are liable for fraud for grossly inflating asset valuations on financial statements. The judge will decide how much money the Trumps would pay the state.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has alleged that Trump, three of his children, his companies and his business executives defrauded lenders, insurers and other entities.

"We are ready for trial and look forward to presenting the rest of our case," the attorney general's office said.

The judge has set aside nearly three months for the trial.

7:52 a.m. ET, October 2, 2023

Judge finds Trump and his sons liable for fraud ahead of civil trial

From CNN's Kara Scannell and Lauren del Valle

Judge Arthur Engoron poses for a picture in his courtroom in New York on September 28.
Judge Arthur Engoron poses for a picture in his courtroom in New York on September 28. Seth Wenig/AP

A New York judge found Donald Trump and his adult sons liable for fraud and canceled the Trump Organization’s business certification last week.

The ruling came in response to the lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James — a case that is set to go to trial on Monday on the amount of damages owed.

James has alleged that Trump, three of his children, his companies and his business executives defrauded lenders, insurers and other entities. The state is seeking $250 million in damages, a ban on the Trumps from serving as officers of a business in New York and to stop the company from engaging in business transactions for five years.

Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling is a complete rejection of Trump’s arguments that he didn’t inflate the values of his golf courses, hotels, homes at Mar-a-Lago and Seven Springs on financial statements.

Among other things, Trump is accused of inflating the value of his triplex apartment at Trump Tower by three times its size, resulting in an overvaluation of between $114 million to $207 million, Engoron wrote.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference on September 21 in New York.
New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference on September 21 in New York. Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

The judge canceled the business certifications of the Trump entities that are defendants in the case, including the Trump Organization — a major blow to the business that has been so synonymous with the former president’s personal brand.

A receiver will be put in place to “manage the dissolution” of the corporate entities. There are two New York properties that are part of the lawsuit, the commercial tower at 40 Wall Street and the Trump family compound at Seven Springs.

Questions remain as to how the receiver would dissolve the properties, if the ruling would impact properties located outside of New York state, including Mar-a-Lago, and if the Trumps could transfer the New York-based assets into a new company located out of state.

8:34 a.m. ET, October 2, 2023

Security increased at New York courthouse around Trump’s civil trial Monday

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

Court police prepare for the arrival of former President Donald Trump in New York on Monday.
Court police prepare for the arrival of former President Donald Trump in New York on Monday. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Increased security has been put in place ahead of the civil fraud trial for the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against Donald Trump, his eldest sons and their companies, a spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System confirmed to CNN.

The increased security measures will continue for the duration of the trial set to begin Monday morning, which could last through December. 

“Our judicial threat unit constantly monitors all forms of media and maintains a high level of situational awareness regarding security for all judges. Additionally, Court Officers have been on a heightened state of readiness and officers have been cautioned to remain alert and vigilant both inside courthouses and while on perimeter patrols,” the spokesperson said in a statement.