Mon, 11 Dec 2023

Washington DC [US], October 3 (ANI): Former US President Donald Trump has claimed that the civil fraud trial in New York, which began on Monday, is a political attack against him and has taken him "off the campaign trail", CNN reported.

He expressed his frustration about not being able to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and other places due to his courtroom presence.

"This was for politics. It has been very successful for them - they took me off the campaign trail," Trump said as he exited the courtroom after the court was wrapped for the day, CNN reported. "Because I've been sitting in a courthouse all day long, instead of being in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or a lot of other places I could be at," he added.

On being asked if he was returning for the trial on Tuesday, he said:"We may, I'd love not to. I'd love to be campaigning instead of doing this."Meanwhile, the trial wrapped up for the day, with the first witness for the New York attorney general, Trump's former long-time accountant Donald Bender, testifying about financial documents from 2011.

Bender explained that the accounting firm Mazars USA would not have issued these financial statements if the Trump Organization had not represented that the numbers were accurate. He also stated that Mazars would not have issued these statements if they had learned the numbers were inaccurate, Bender testified, CNN reported.

Allen Weisselberg, Trump's former longtime chief financial officer, signed on behalf of Trump that the documents from 2011 were accurate, he added, as per CNN.

Additionally, Mazars would not have issued these statements if they learned the numbers were not true, Bender said.

The New York attorney general's office asked Donald Bender, Trump's former accountant at Mazars, about the price of a penthouse apartment for Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump.

The lawsuit, brought by the New York attorney general, alleges that Trump, his adult sons, their businesses, and Trump Organization executives were involved in fraudulent activities.

Bender testified that his job was not to audit Trump's financial statement, but "from time to time," he would point out errors to Trump Organization officials on financial documents.

One of the examples he recalled flagging an error was when Ivanka Trump had an option to buy a penthouse apartment at Trump Park Avenue. Bender said that the value on Trump's financial schedule was different than what was listed in Ivanka Trump's option, it reported.

He is expected to continue testifying on Tuesday.

The former president, for most of the afternoon session, continued to look at the documents on the monitor in front of him, looking across the courtroom at the witness and talking quietly with his lawyers.

This lawsuit, brought by the New York attorney general, alleges that Trump, his adult sons, their businesses, and Trump Organisation executives were involved in fraudulent activities. Trump is listed as a potential witness for both the attorney general and the defence, although it remains uncertain whether he will be called to testify, according to CNN.

There have been various attempts to exclude Trump from the ballot in the upcoming year based on his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. However, the Supreme Court recently declined to entertain one of these challenges, rejecting an appeal from John Anthony Castro, a lesser-known candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Castro's case rested on a post-Civil War provision of the 14th Amendment, disqualifying any American official who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" or provided "aid or comfort" to insurrectionists.

Notably, the case was denied without any comment or recorded vote. Nonetheless, there are still ongoing 14th Amendment challenges against Trump in Minnesota and Colorado, with trials scheduled for later this year.

Meanwhile, Trump's campaign continues to criticise Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James, characterising the upcoming fraud trial as politically motivated.

"Letitia James made clear that 'getting Trump' was the motivating force behind her campaign for attorney general," the Trump campaign said in a new statement, which also referred to James as a "Democratic activist," according to CNN. (ANI)

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