On Thursday morning, Judge Arthur Engoron issued an angry ruling in regards to the civil fraud charges facing former President Donald Trump.
He demanded that all defendants disclose their current ownership and any third parties’ interests in the businesses they control, as well as any forewarning required for situations such as creating a new entity or transferring assets or liabilities to other entities.
To ensure no secret moves are made to protect his wealth during the trial, preventative measures were taken.
Former Federal Judge Barbara Jones, the court-appointed monitor, has demanded full disclosure of the Trump Organization’s financials from President Trump, his two eldest sons Donald Jr. and Eric, former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, and Controller Jeffrey McConney within one week.
This order came prior to the fourth day of Trump’s civil trial in Manhattan, where prosecutors have established “conclusive evidence” that the ex-President overstated his assets and lost business certification for his company.
Michael McAuliffe, a former federal prosecutor, stated in Newsweek that the court order on Thursday to appoint babysitters to monitor the financial activity and potential dissolution of business entities involved in the case was the “logical next step”.
He further noted that this exemplifies why Trump cannot ignore his legal challenges as the 2024 election nears.
This order comes shortly after New York State Attorney General Letitia James demanded $250 million in damages from Trump along with a ban on him and his two sons doing business in New York.
“The court’s supplemental order reflects why the Trump family defendants have good reason to fear the civil fraud lawsuit and the ongoing trial,” he said.
After Engoron’s ruling on September 26th, many began wondering if former President Trump would try to transfer ownership of his properties to those close to him in an effort to maintain control of his businesses, as they are now under threat in the same city where he built them decades ago.
Melania Trump, the former first lady, is not a defendant in the fraud lawsuit, so it has been suggested that he transfer them to her. However, according to Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s former chief of staff, Melania is unlikely to do so unless she is “granted some major control or power”.
McAuliffe stated that the fraud trial would continue despite the likelihood that Trump’s legal team would appeal the most recent order. AG James responded to comments Trump made outside a Manhattan courtroom following the second day of her civil fraud trial against him, labeling them as “baseless” and “offensive”.
She claimed that Trump had “fomented violence” with remarks that amounted to “race-baiting”, while complaining that his statements appealed to “the bottom of our humanity.” She then accused him and his companies of engaging in a “pattern and practice of fraud.”
“I will not be bullied,” she said at one point. “Mr. Trump is no longer here. The Donald Trump show is over.”
She derided his comments as a “political stunt” orchestrated by the former president. Subsequently, Trump addressed whether he would testify in the $250 million civil trial against him and his sons as well as their companies initiated by James, saying he will do so “at the appropriate time.”
The former president is on the witness lists for himself and for the prosecution.
“Yes, I will” testify at the trial, Trump told reporters in remarks during the lunch break on day two of the trial Tuesday. “At the appropriate time, I will be,” he added.
“I think it’s going very well,” he continued after being asked to assess the trial thus far.