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Donald Trump to testify at fraud trial today with NYC real estate empire at stake


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Former President Donald Trump is set to testify Monday at the $250 million civil fraud trial that could decide the fate of the New York real estate empire that propelled him to fame.

Trump, 77, is expected to take the witness stand at around 10 a.m. in Manhattan Supreme Court in the lawsuit brought by New York State Attorney General Letitia James accusing him of exaggerating his wealth to dupe banks and insurance companies and save money.

His testimony will mark the climax of a month-long-trial in which the AG’s office has grilled a steady stream of accountants, appraisers and Trump Organization officials — including the ex-president’s eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are also defendants in the suit.

Both of them testified last week that they weren’t involved in their dad’s annual “statements of financial condition” — documents James alleges Trump falsified for a decade by inflating his assets to the tune of billions a year for better loan and insurance terms.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron — who is deciding the case — already found Trump liable for fraud in a ruling issued days before trial, writing that the real estate mogul had valued his assets as if he lived in a “fantasy world” on financial filings between 2011 and 2021.

The filings contained “indisputably false” claims, Engoron wrote — including that Trump’s soaring Midtown penthouse was 30,000 square feet when it was in fact closer to 11,000 feet.

Engoron ordered Trump’s New York-based businesses to be dissolved — which could force the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner to eventually turn over Trump Tower and other properties to a court-ordered receiver.

Trump’s legal team is appealing that ruling, and James’ office agreed to stay the cancellations as the case rolls on.

Six other claims remain to be decided, including three “conspiracy” charges, where James’ office is tasked with proving that Trump had the “intent” to falsify business records and defraud insurers.

A key witness for the state’s conspiracy case is Trump’s ex-personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who claimed on the stand that his old boss had him “reverse engineer” his assets to meet “whatever number” Trump wanted.

But under cross examination from Trump’s lawyers, Cohen admitted that the ex-president had not explicitly “directed” him to inflate the values.

A key witness for the state’s conspiracy case is Trump’s ex-personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who claimed on the stand that his old boss had him “reverse engineer” his assets to meet “whatever number” Trump wanted.

Instead, Trump operated “like a mob boss” and merely strongly implied that he and former Trump Org Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were meant to manipulate the filings to reach Trump’s desired inflated totals, Cohen testified.

“He tells you what he wants without specifically telling you,” Cohen said.

Trump is likely to be asked about these alleged meetings with Cohen and Weisselberg on Monday.

It’ll technically be Trump’s second time testifying during the trial in the lower Manhattan courtroom — though he’ll speak for far longer this time and is expected to be the sole witness called Monday.

When Cohen testified on Oct. 25, Trump was called to the witness stand for a surprise hearing after he appeared to malign the court’s lead law clerk while speaking to reporters during a morning break.

After Trump claimed that he was actually blasting Cohen and not the clerk, an unconvinced Engoron scolded him as “not credible” — and fined him $10,000 — for violating a limited gag order from early on in the trial barring the former president from speaking publicly about court staff.

Former President Donald Trump is facing 91 charges in four different criminal cases following his time in office.

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