Trump fraud trial live updates: Former president calls trial ‘political witch hunt’

(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump goes on trial in New York Monday in a $250 million lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.

Trump has signaled his intention to attend the first days of the trial, in which he, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate Trump’s net worth while lowering his tax burden.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have described him as a “master of finding value where others do not,” arguing that Trump’s alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 02, 10:09 AM EDT
Trump calls trial ‘political witch hunt’

Former President Trump, speaking to reporters on his arrival at the lower Manhattan courthouse, said the trial is a witch hunt resulting from his standing in the presidential polls.

“This is a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt of all time,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

Trump said he is innocent of the accusations and that his portfolio has a much higher value than what the attorney general alleges.

Oct 02, 9:59 AM EDT
Trump attorneys call trial ‘election interference’

Members of Donald Trump’s legal team, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse prior to the start of the trial, called the fraud allegations against the former president “election interference.”

Trump’s attorneys said that Democrats were using the case to fight Trump’s efforts to retake the White House in 2024.

Oct 02, 9:43 AM EDT
Attorney general arrives at courthouse

New York Attorney General Letitia James has arrived at the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

“No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law,” James said to the cameras before entering the courthouse.

“Today we will prove our case in court,” she said. “Justice will prevail.”

Demonstrators across the street from the courthouse cheered and applauded as the AG arrived.

Oct 02, 9:25 AM EDT
Trump on way to courthouse

Former President Trump is in a motorcade on his way to the courthouse in lower Manhattan where his fraud trial will get underway this morning.

Opening statements in the case are scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. ET.

-John Santucci

Oct 02, 8:19 AM EDT
NY attorney general releases statement on 1st day of trial

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement on Monday just hours before the first day of trial in her fraud case against former President Donald Trump.

“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system,” James said. “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,” she added. “The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does.”

Oct 02, 8:14 AM EDT
Trial scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET

The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, et al, is scheduled to get underway in lower Manhattan at 10 a.m. with opening statements.

If opening statements are completed before the end of the day, the New York attorney general plans to begin her case by calling Trump’s former Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender to the stand.

Mazars severed its business relationship with the former president last year after learning of the attorney general’s findings during the AG’s probe.

Oct 02, 7:10 AM EDT
Judge has already found that Trump overvalued his assets

Though Trump has denied all wrongdoing alleged by the attorney general, Judge Arthur Engoron has already decided the central allegation against Trump and his co-defendants, ruling in a pretrial hearing last week that the AG had provided “conclusive evidence” that Trump overvalued his assets between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

The judge then canceled the Trump Organization’s business certificates in New York, severely restricting Trump’s ability to conduct business in the state moving forward — a move that Trump attorney Alina Habba called “nonsensical” and “outrageously overreaching.”

“In defendants’ world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air,” Engoron wrote, citing multiple arguments made by defense to justify the allegedly inflated valuations of Trump’s assets. “That is a fantasy world, not the real world.”

Among the issues still to be determined at trial: What additional penalties Trump might face, and what might happen with the multiple causes of action included in the attorney general’s suit.

Oct 02, 6:43 AM EDT
Trump blasts judge ahead of trial

Former President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the judge overseeing and deciding his case, writing on Truth Social overnight that Justice Arthur Engoron should resign and be sanctioned for “abuse of power.”

Similar to his earlier post, Trump focused on the alleged inflated value of Mar-a-Lago, in addition to an appellate decision that his lawyers unsuccessfully tried to use to limit the timeframe of the case.

Oct 02, 6:39 AM EDT
Trump says he will attend trial’s opening

Former President Trump posted on his Truth Social platform Sunday night that he intends to attend the opening of the trial.

“See you in court — Monday morning,” he wrote in a post.

Earlier Sunday, multiple sources familiar with the decision told ABC News that Trump was expecting to attend.

Trump will have no speaking role in court on Monday, but it is anticipated that he’ll return to the courthouse toward the end of the state’s case when court records show he will be called as a witness.

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