Donald Trump and his sons Don Jr. and Eric will be among the witnesses in next week's $250 million civil fraud trial against the former president and his companies, new court filings show.
Trump and his two oldest sons — both senior executives at his company, the Trump Organization — were named on witness lists filed Thursday by lawyers for the Trumps and New York Attorney General Letitia James' office, which alleges the Trumps have been wildly exaggerating their business assets for years.
Also named on the witness lists is Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization who pleaded guilty last year to running a 15-year tax fraud scheme at the company. He testified against the company in a criminal trial last year and was sentenced to five months in jail. The company was convicted and fined $1.6 million.
The witness list also named Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen as among the 28 witnesses the attorney general’s office intends to call.
Ivanka Trump, a former top executive at Trump’s company, was originally a defendant, but a state appeals court found the claims against her were too old and dismissed them.
Judge Arthur Engoron, who will preside over the jury-less bench trial in Manhattan next week, partly sided with the AG's office in a ruling Tuesday when he found that Trump had committed repeated acts of fraud for years. Trump attorney Christopher Kise has said he plans to appeal the ruling, which he characterized as "outrageous."
Trump, meanwhile, blasted the judge he'll be testifying before as a "Trump hating" judge who has violated his civil rights.
The state Appellate Division — the same appeals court that dismissed the claims against Ivanka Trump — had issued a temporary stay of the trial date of Monday after Trump complained that Engoron hadn’t ruled on some of his arguments. Engoron ruled on the issues Tuesday, and the appeals court allowed the case to proceed to trial Monday.
James has said Cohen, a former Trump loyalist, sparked her office’s investigation when he testified before Congress that Trump routinely exaggerated his assets in financial documents. Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal charges of tax evasion, violating campaign finance laws and lying to banks and to Congress, and he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Cohen in Florida alleging he breached his fiduciary duty to Trump by "both revealing Plaintiff’s confidences, and spreading falsehoods about Plaintiff." Lawyers for Cohen were scheduled to depose Trump in Florida next week, but his attorney Alejandro Brito argued in court Thursday that Trump needs to be in New York because of the AG's case.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres will hold another hearing Friday to determine whether to keep the date or push it back to Oct. 8 or Oct. 9. There is also a possibility the deposition could be held in New York at Trump’s request, but that would have to be approved by Cohen’s attorney.
A source with knowledge of the situation said the deposition would still happen — it’s just a matter of when and where. Donald Trump’s attorney didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
The civil fraud trial that begins next week in Manhattan could last until Dec. 22, the judge has said. In addition to the 28 main witnesses, the AG's office listed 25 more people as potential rebuttal witnesses.
Trump's witness list, meanwhile, included 127 names of fact and expert witnesses, in addition to "Any witness included on Plaintiff’s Witness List."
Engoron said in a ruling this month that he'll hear the case five days a week. James’ office will have 90 minutes for an opening statement Monday, while lawyers for the multiple Trump defendants will have two hours.
Trump and his two adult sons have denied any wrongdoing. He has accused James, a Democrat, of taking part in a partisan "witch hunt" against him.