The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


Trump Fraud Trial Begins

Abigail Shimniok graphic

Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York after being accused of fraud by New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James.
The trial originates from a lawsuit initiated by James last year, in which she alleged Trump and other defendants, including three of his adult children and his companies, of engaging in deceptive practices to inflate the worth of their assets for the purpose of securing favorable loans and insurance deals.

The trial’s outcome will decide if Trump will face substantial fines and additional consequences. James has requested a $250 million fine along with a permanent prohibition on him and his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, from engaging in business activities in New York.
Trump has denied all the charges and accused James of being motivated by politics, citing it as the reason for her filing of the lawsuit.
The case centers around yearly “statements of financial condition,” which are snapshots of Trump’s wealth given to banks and insurers.
James maintains that these statements are egregiously inflated, stating that his Trump Tower penthouse was claimed as nearly three times its actual size. James also claims his Mar-a-Lago club was overvalued as much as $739 million which was “based on the false premise that it was unrestricted property and could be developed and sold for residential use, even though Mr. Trump himself signed deeds donating his residential development rights and sharply restricting changes to the property.”
Trump claims that the statement was underestimating the worth of his properties. He also states that the documents provided came with disclaimers that state the numbers shouldn’t be trusted and lenders should do their own homework on his properties and investments.
Donald Bender, an accountant who prepared Trump’s financial statements for years, testified on Oct. 3, 2023, that the Trump Organization did not provide the necessary information to accurately produce the financial statements.
Upon cross-examination, Bender was questioned about his experience and was criticized by Jesus M. Suarez, Trump’s lawyer, for being sloppy in the way Bender handled the former president’s financial documents.
Bender admitted that he missed some of the information but claimed it was due to the lack of documents provided by the Trump Organization. “It was their mistake,” Bender stated in court, “and we didn’t catch it.”
The trial plans on calling over 150 witnesses and is estimated by one of the prosecutors to potentially last up to four months.
This hearing marks the beginning of a series of legal challenges that Trump is slated to confront in the coming months.
Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan set an additional trial date for Trump on March 4, 2024, regarding charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election.
Another case is set to take place on March 24, 2023, where Trump has been accused of more than 30 felonies connected to hush-money payments in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
Trump is also expected to face trial concerning his alleged mishandling of classified government documents on May 20, 2024.

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