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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Trump is planning to attend opening of New York fraud trial Monday

In this file photo from Jan. 11, 2017, then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump along with his children Eric, left, Ivanka and Donald Jr. arrive for a news conference at Trump Tower in New York, accompanied by Allen Weisselberg (second from right), chief financial officer of The Trump Organization. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)  (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Erik Larson Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — Donald Trump is planning to attend the Monday opening of New York state’s civil trial accusing him of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars in financial transactions, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The former president, with control of his real estate empire at stake, hasn’t yet decided how many days he will be in court during the first week of the trial in New York state court in Manhattan, said the person, who declined to be identified discussing nonpublic information.

Trump’s plan to attend, which isn’t mandatory in a civil case, is an unexpected twist just days before the start of a monthslong trial over whether he inflated the value of his assets to dupe banks and insurers from 2011 to 2021. It’s one of at least six trials Trump faces, including four unrelated criminal prosecutions, as he seeks to return to the White House in 2024.

Trump will sit with his lawyers including Christopher Kise and Alina Habba at a table next to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the suit. Trump will also be able to face off for the first time against the the judge overseeing the case, who he’s regularly called a “Trump hater.”

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the N.Y. State Office of Court Administration, which runs the courts, said court officials have prepared security measures for whatever may happen Monday and are working with the New York Police Department and other law enforcement.

Trump will testify in person later in the proceeding, according to witness lists filed with the court. His two sons who are defendants, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, are also planning to testify. His daughter Ivanka Trump, who won dismissal from the suit, is on the state’s witness list.

Word of Trump’s plan to attend the New York trial began to spread after his lawyer in an unrelated Florida civil suit he filed against his former lawyer Michael Cohen told a judge he needed to reschedule his Oct. 3 deposition so he could attend the New York trial all week.

Trump claimed “it was imperative that he attend his New York trial in person — at least for each day of the first week of trial when many strategy judgments had to be made,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres in Miami said in a ruling Friday moving Trump’s deposition to Oct. 9. “Plaintiff insisted that he would be prejudiced if he could not do so.”

(Patricia Hurtado contributed to this report.)