Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.
Trump is back in the courtroom for the second day of the trial, in which he, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" to inflate Trump's net worth while lowering his tax burden.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have described him as a "master of finding value where others do not," arguing that Trump's alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.
Oct 3, 4:15 PM
Judge admonishes Trump after he posts about clerk
As court resumed after the lunch break, Judge Engoron admonished Donald Trump for a post he made this afternoon on his Truth Social platform regarding Engoron's clerk, Alison Greenfield.
"Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable and inappropriate. Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff," the judge said in his admonishment.
The post, which included a photo of Greenfield with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, made unsubstantiated claims about her connections with Schumer and falsely claimed that Greenfield is "running" the case against Trump.
Trump apparently made the post, which linked to Greenfield's Instagram account, while the former president was sitting in the courtroom.
The post was deleted shortly before the judge's admonishment, but it was up for at least an hour and a half. Engoron lamented that the sentiment was shared to millions.
The judge did not mention Trump by name but noted the post came from one of the defendants.
Greenfield sits at the bench to Engoron's immediate right and he is often seen conferring with her over legal and logistical matters.
-ABC News' Peter Charalambous, Aaron Katersky, Soo Rin Kim, Lalee Ibssa and Kendall Ross
Oct 3, 2:37 PM
Trump says he's attending trial to 'expose' AG
Former President Donald Trump said he is attending his civil trial to "expose" New York Attorney General Letitia James, during an exchange with ABC News.
Asked by ABC News' Aaron Katersky why he was attending the trial even though he's not required to be there, Trump replied, "Because this trial is a rigged trial. It's a fraudulent trial."
"The attorney general is a fraud, and we have to expose her as that," Trump said after exiting the courtroom for the afternoon break. "You see what's going on. It's a rigged deal."
James has said of her probe, "No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law."
The statements from Trump follow the conclusion of the state's lengthy direct examination of longtime Mazars accountant Donald Bender, who testified about the procedures Mazars and the Trump Organization used to compile a central piece of evidence in the case -- Trump's statements of financial condition between 2011 and 2020.
Trump appeared attentive during the testimony, often studying the exhibits displayed on the court's screens -- including a recurring spreadsheet titled "Jeff Supporting Data" prepared by co-defendant and Trump Organization executive Jeffrey McConney, which contained the source information for the financial statements.
Bender testified about a specific red notation spelled "PBC" that appeared on the Excel file across multiple years. The notation -- indicating that the files were "Prepared By [the] Client" -- seemed to emphasize how much of the accounting was done by the Trump Organization rather than Mazars.
Testifying about letters of representation issued by the Trump Organization in support of the statements, Bender addressed specific language in the letter stating that the Trump Organization had included all the relevant records and data needed for the statements.
"We have not knowingly withheld from you any financial records or related data that in our judgment would be relevant to your compilation," the letter read.
But Bender testified that he later learned that meaningful information was indeed omitted -- information he said he learned in 2021 during meetings with prosecutors.
When asked repeatedly if Mazars would have issued the statements if they knew the Trump Organization had withheld information, Bender repeated that Mazars would not have issued the statements.
-ABC News' Aaron Katersky, Jack Feeley and Peter Charalambous
Oct 3, 12:49 PM
Judge mixes focus, humor on the bench
Justice Arthur Engoron appears to be enjoying his time overseeing the trial today, including correcting the attorneys for the state on minor issues.
"The correct word is withdrawn, not strike," Engoron interjected at one point, after a state attorney attempted to "strike" the record so he could rephrase a statement.
Later, Engoron smiled and signaled a thumbs-up when the same attorney adjusted his language and "withdrew" his words from the record to rephrase.
The veteran justice, who has served on the bench in New York for more than 20 years, has a reputation as a reliable albeit unusual judge, according to past and former associates.
Oct 3, 12:26 PM
Trump calls case a 'scam,' says he might testify
Exiting court during the break, Trump told reporters positioned nearby that the financial statements being reviewed in court included disclaimers, which his legal team has argued absolves him of wrongdoing.
"This case is a scam," Trump said during his walk back to court.
When asked if he would consider testifying, Trump said he might.
Oct 3, 12:25 PM
Ex-accountant addresses 2012-2016 financial statements
An attorney with for the New York attorney general's office spent the first hour of direct examination methodically walking Mazars accountant Donald Bender through the Trump Organization's financial documents from 2012 through 2016.
As he addressed each document, Bender reiterated that the Trump Organization and its trustees were responsible for the accounting principles used in the records, the disclosures in reports, and the information from which the reports were based.
The state appears to be using Bender's testimony to not only get Trump's financials statements into evidence, but also to demonstrate the relatively consistent process the Trump Organization used to compile and finalize their statements of financial condition over a decade.
Oct 3, 10:52 AM
Judge clarifies statute of limitations remarks
Justice Arthur Engoron, who was a frequent target of Trump's attacks yesterday, began the trial's second day by clarifying some of his closing remarks about the statute of limitations in the case.
After court yesterday, Trump construed his remarks as a victory, suggesting "80% of the cases is over" after leaving court on Monday.
Engoron apologized for his comments and stated that any future real estate deals "restart" the statute of limitations --- meaning that the attorney general's office needs to "connect the dots" to include the evidence about a 2011 deal discussed on Monday.
"I understand that the defendants strongly disagree on this and will appeal on this ground," Engoron said.
He concluded his remarks by reminding counsel not to relitigate issues already decided -- something that Trump's attorneys seemingly did on Day One of the trial.
"This trial is not an opportunity to relitigate what I have already decided ... that is why we have appeals," Engoron said.
Oct 3, 10:41 AM
Trump again attacks AG on way into court
Former President Donald Trump continued his attacks on New York Attorney General Letitia James before entering the courtroom for the second day of his $250 million civil fraud trial in downtown Manhattan.
"She ran on the basis 'I will get Trump' without knowing anything about me," he said to reporters outside court.
Both Trump and James are present this morning in court, where state attorneys are set to continue their direct examination of longtime Mazars accountant Donald Bender.
Oct 3, 9:42 AM
Trump expected in court for 2nd day
Former President Donald Trump signaled he will be in court again Tuesday morning in a post on his social media platform.
"See you in Court Tuesday morning," Trump posted.
The former president then went on to attack New York Attorney General Letitia James. He claimed he had a "good day at trial" during Monday's proceedings.
-ABC News' Lalee Ibssa
Oct 2, 6:15 PM
1st witness eyes Trump's decade-old financial statements
Testifying about the preparation of the Trump Organization's statements of financial condition in 2011, former Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender said Trump executives largely provided the input data for statements, in addition to dictating the standards by which the work was completed.
"We would cut and paste that information into a new worksheet," Bender said about the approach taken by Mazar after receiving new data from co-defendant Jeffrey McConney of the Trump Organization.
When asked about the compliance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles -- which Bender testified are the standards for accounting in the United States -- Bender repeatedly placed responsibility in the lap of the Trump organization.
"That was the Trump Organization's responsibility," Bender testified about GAAP compliance.
Bender acknowledged that he rarely questioned the inputs from the Trump Organization, and when he did, he largely dealt with McConney and executives other than Trump and his adult sons.
Repeatedly asked by the state attorney if Mazars would have issued the statements if they had known the Trump Organization included material misrepresentations in their data, Bender reiterated that Mazars would not have issued the statements.
When Judge Engoron remarked at the end of the trial day that the state would still need to present further evidence to prove that the 2011 statement was within the statute of limitations, Trump seized the statement as a partial victory.
"The last five minutes was outstanding, because the judge actually conceded that the statute of limitations … is in effect," Trump told reporters as he was leaving court.
Engoron, however, did not completely rule out the 2011 evidence during trial, instead appearing to remind counsel that they need to show the 2011 statement represents an ongoing concern that falls within the statute of limitations.
Testimony is scheduled to resume on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.
Oct 2, 3:50 PM
Ex-accountant says statements were 'Trump Org's responsibility'
Prosecutors have called their first witness to the stand: Donald Bender, a former accountant at Mazars USA, the firm that for years handled Trump's taxes.
Bender testified at length about his involvement in compiling Trump's statements of financial condition between 2011 and 2020, which he described as "balance [sheets] of Mr. Trump's assets and liabilities."
Bender said the standards and inputs for the statements were largely decided by Trump Organization executives.
"That was the Trump Organization's responsibility," Bender said about the accounting standard used in the statements.
As Bender answered the state's questions, Trump was seen taking notes at the defense table.
Bender described spending roughly half his time on Trump's business and personal financial matters toward the end of his career at Mazars.
The firm severed its business relationship with Trump last year after learning of the attorney general's findings during the AG's probe.