Donald Trump returns for second day of civil fraud trial

Former US president Donald Trump began day two of his civil fraud trial Tuesday, lashing out at New York’s attorney general before entering the courtroom where he could be barred from doing business in the state.

Trump, who is facing legal battles on multiple fronts, called Attorney General Letitia James “very corrupt” and “grossly incompetent” in his trademark combativeness, ahead of the day’s proceedings.

James is seeking $250 million in penalties and the removal of Trump and two of his sons from management of the family empire.

Trump, who leads the field of Republican primary candidates ahead of the 2024 election by substantial margins, was not required to attend the first two days in court but chose to do so, taking a seat at the defence table flanked by his lawyers.

Donald Trump returns for second day of civil fraud trial

The civil trial comes after New York Judge Arthur Engoron already ruled that Trump and his sons Eric and Don Jr committed fraud by inflating the value of the real estate and financial assets of the Trump Organization for years.

The ruling stated that the three Trumps and other Trump Organization executives lied to tax collectors, lenders and insurers for years in a scheme that exaggerated the value of their properties by $812 million to $2.2 billion between 2014 and 2021.

The judge revoked the business licenses that allowed the Trump Organization to operate some of its New York properties, a move known as the “corporate death penalty.”

In the civil trial that began this week there is no jury, meaning Trump’s fate is entirely in Engoron’s hands — which has not dissuaded the former president from branding him a “rogue” Democratic judge who should be “disbarred.”

Also in the courtroom Tuesday were Don Jr and Eric, as well as Attorney General James.

On Monday, Trump denounced the case as a “sham” intended to torpedo his bid to recapture the White House next year and called James, who is African American, “racist.”

The 77-year-old ex-leader — who made his reputation and fortune as a real estate mogul in the 1980s — could lose control over many of his company’s flagship properties, such as Trump Tower on Manhattan’s iconic 5th Avenue.

The New York case is the first of a number of upcoming trials for the former president.

Trump is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Washington on March 4, 2024 on charges of trying to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump will then be back in New York state court, this time on charges of paying hush money to a porn star, and later in a federal court in Florida, where he is accused of mishandling classified documents after leaving office.

Finally, he will also have to answer to state charges in Georgia, where prosecutors say Trump illegally tried to get the southern state’s 2020 election results changed in his favour.