A defiant Donald Trump attacked New York's attorney general and the judge overseeing his civil fraud trial as it began on Monday, with a state lawyer accusing the former president of generating more than $100 million by lying about his real estate empire, APA reports citing Reuters.
Attorney General Letitia James is seeking at least $250 million in fines, a permanent ban against Trump and his sons Donald Jr and Eric from running businesses in New York and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.
Testimony in the Manhattan courtroom began following opening statements, with Donald Bender, a partner at Mazars USA and longtime accountant for Trump's businesses, as the state's first witness.
Trump told reporters before the trial began that the case was a "scam," a "sham" and a political vendetta by James, and during a lunch break called the Democrat "a corrupt person, a terrible person. Driving people out of New York."
He was equally unsparing of the judge, Arthur Engoron, calling him a partisan Democrat who is using the case to interfere with the 2024 presidential election, where Trump holds a big lead for the Republican nomination.
"This is a judge that should be disbarred," Trump told reporters. "This is a judge that should be out of office."
Trump's election campaign used the start of the trial for fundraising, saying he was defending his family and reputation from New York Democrats it called "corrupt tyrants."
The case concerns accusations by the attorney general that Trump inflated his assets and his own net worth from 2011 to 2021 to obtain favorable bank loans and lower insurance premiums.