Someone at former President Trump’s $250 million civil fraud trial is definitely “lovin’ it.”
A “yuge” order of McDonald’s was carried into the Manhattan court on Monday as trial proceedings took a break for lunch. Staff in suits were pictured hauling at least six brown paper bags into the Centre Street complex — where Trump is on trial for allegedly inflating the value of his businesses by $2.2 billion.
It is not clear who placed the order, but the former president has a well-documented love for the Golden Arches. When Trump occupied the White House, he was known to splurge on big orders and treat guests and staff to his favorite meal — a Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, fries and milkshake.
In 2019, Trump served McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King to the NCAA national champion Clemson Tigers football team at the White House.
The former president has previously admitted to feeling better about eating fast food from McDonald’s and Wendy’s due to hygiene and food-prep concerns, as well as taste.
“I’m a very clean person. I like cleanliness, and I think you’re better off going there than maybe someplace that you have no idea where the food’s coming from. It’s a certain standard,” he said in a 2016 interview. “I think the food’s good,” he added.
Trump may want some comfort food as he defends his business empire against allegations of fraud made by New York Attorney General Letitia James in a lawsuit.
The former president, who polls show currently leads the 2024 Republican presidential primary field by a massive margin, arrived in court in Lower Manhattan Monday morning for a non-jury trial, presided over by Judge Arthur Engoron, after a New York State Appeals Court rejected Trump’s request to delay the civil trial.
Engoron last week ruled that Trump and the Trump Organization committed fraud while building his real estate empire by deceiving banks, insurers and others by overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.
Engoron’s ruling comes after James sued Trump, his children and the Trump Organization, alleging that Trump “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” and said his children helped him to do so.
Before entering the courtroom, Trump spoke to reporters, blasting the “disgrace” of a civil trial stemming from “corrupt” James’ lawsuit against him, and presided over by “corrupt” Judge Engoron.
Trump attorney Christopher Kise, in his opening statement Monday, said Trump’s financial statements contained no false entries, and argued that prosecutors were relying on the word of a “known liar”—former Trump attorney Michael Cohen—to establish wrongdoing.
Prosecutors claimed that Trump and his associates knowingly submitted false financial statements—basing their theory on Cohen’s sworn testimony. The prosecution played a clip of Cohen stating that Trump would regularly task him and other lawyers with inflating his net worth, even if only to raise his placement on the Forbes wealth list. The video showed Cohen testifying that he witnessed this behavior on a regular basis from 2011 to 2015.
Trump’s defense lawyers argued that James only began investigating Trump after she was elected attorney general in 2019 because of a campaign promise to “get Trump.” Trump attorney Alina Habba said the Trump Organization’s assets were actually “undervalued” and contested Engoron’s valuation of Mar-A-Lago at $18 million, saying it would sell for “at least” $1 billion.
Trump will return to court Tuesday, when prosecutors are expected to take testimony from their first witness, Donald Bender of accounting firm Mazars USA LLP, to its overall case.
Bender’s testimony focused on financial records dating back to 2011, which fell outside the statute of limitations. James has promised the prosecution would tie his testimony to something within the statute of limitations at trial today.
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