Donald Trump’s three eldest adult children will testify this week in the $250 million civil fraud lawsuit that New York Attorney General Letitia James filed against him. It has long seemed likely that Trump, and possibly Eric Trump, would take the stand in the case; last week Judge Arthur Engoron confirmed that Ivanka Trump will also be made to testify, as will Donald Trump Jr.
The case centers around the allegation that the ex-president committed fraud by telling banks and insurance companies that he was worth far more money than was true, in order to get better terms for loans and insurance policies. Before the trial started, Engoron sided with James’ office, saying they had submitted copious amounts of evidence and that the trial was only necessary to determine how much of a penalty Trump should pay.
Trump, who just last week stormed out of the trial after Engoron made a ruling he didn’t like, is furious about the most recent decision requiring his children to testify. Over the weekend, he posted at length about the matter on his social media platform, Truth Social, though after complaining about the decision involving his daughter, his posts quickly turned into rants about his own victimhood.
“My daughter, Ivanka, was released from this Fake Letitia James case by the Court of Appeals,” Trump wrote in one post, referring to a ruling back in June by a higher court that Ivanka Trump had mostly separated herself from her father’s business—at least in the state of New York—during the time frame in which James has accused Trump of fraud.
Trump then focused on himself, writing that “there was NO VICTIM, EXCEPT ME.” Trump also attacked the judge, Arthur Engoron, with whom he has clashed repeatedly.
“I truly believe he is CRAZY, but certainly, at a minimum, CRAZED in his hatred of me,” Trump wrote.
In the first week of the trial, Engoron issued a limited gag order against Trump, after Trump took to Truth Social to identify Engoron’s clerk and posted a link to her personal Instagram account. Trump falsely suggested that the clerk was in a romantic relationship with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Two weeks ago, Engoron fined Trump $5,000, after a version of Trump’s social media post was found to still be posted on one of his presidential campaign websites. Engoron fined Trump another $10,000 after Trump left the courtroom on Wednesday and proceeded to tell the media that Engoron and the person “sitting alongside him” were partisans, the latter a clear reference to Engoron’s clerk.
After Trump’s attorneys denied that he was referring to the clerk—the only person who sits next to the judge in the Manhattan courtroom—Engoron ordered Trump to take the stand, and, under oath, tell the truth about who he was referring to. When Trump said it was actually his former fixer, Michael Cohen—who had testified that morning from the witness stand, about 10 feet from the judge and on a lower level—Engoron declared Trump was not a credible witness and imposed the $10,000 fine.
It was later that afternoon that Cohen testified that he had not lied to Congress in 2019 when he said Trump hadn’t directed him to inflate property values. Cohen testified last week that he and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg inflated property values on paperwork submitted to banks, but said Trump never directly gave the orders to change any specific assessments—and rather that Trump made clear in his signals to them that they should boost his overall net worth on paper. Trump stormed from the courtroom when Engoron declined to immediately dismiss the case because of Cohen’s complicated answers.
In his recent Truth Social post, Trump tried to connect the two events with a conspiracy theory.
“He’s an out of control ‘Nut Job,’ who fined me $10,000 over a ridiculous Gag Order so that the publicity for the day would take over from the fact that Racist James and the Judge’s Star Witness admitted LYING TO CONGRESS on the stand,” Trump wrote, apparently garbling what Cohen said on the stand. (Cohen said he told the truth to Congress). Trump’s theory also ignores the fact that Engoron fined him $10,000 before Cohen’s testimony.
This weekend, Trump paid the total $15,000 he owed the court for violating the gag orders, according to a filing made by his attorney.
Donald Trump Jr. is set to take the stand on Nov. 1, his brother Eric Trump on Nov. 2, and Ivanka on Nov. 3. Trump himself is expected to testify on Nov. 6.