Trump is expected to attend his civil fraud trial Thursday

Former President Donald Trump is expected to attend the trial in the $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against him Thursday as testimony in the case enters its final days.

His lead lawyer in the trial, Chris Kise, signaled the possibility of the former president’s attendance as a spectator, telling reporters earlier this week, “I believe that I’ve received notification that he’ll be here on Thursday.”

Eli Bartov, an accounting professor at New York University, is scheduled to take the stand Thursday as an expert witness for the defense. Trump is also expected to testify Monday as the defense’s last witness in the case. He previously testified on Nov. 6.

Eric Trump, the former president’s adult son, backed out of testifying Wednesday as one of the final witnesses. The reversal came because “everything Eric was going to cover was covered by other witnesses,” Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s executive vice president, told NBC News.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the Trumps and their company for allegedly inflating financial statements by billions of dollars. His adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and his daughter Ivanka Trump also testified in the case.

Trump’s testimony last month quickly went off the rails as he hurled attacks against the judge and lawyers in the case, whom he decried as “unfair,” dodged questions and repeatedly went on tangents. Trump also got into heated exchanges with Judge Arthur Engoron from the stand after the judge excoriated him for giving unresponsive answers. Engoron called on Trump’s lawyers to “control him” and warned that “this isn’t a political rally.” 

Trump has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about the judge, his law clerk and the lack of a jury in the trial. Trump has accused James and Engoron of engaging in an election interference effort amid his presidential campaign and denied that he had inflated property values.

“He rambled, he hurled insults, but we expected that,” James said after Trump concluded his testimony last month. She alleges the evidence shows Trump inflated his financial statements to enrich himself and his family and predicted “justice will be served.”

After the conclusion of his testimony last month, Trump told reporters inside the courthouse that he thought “it went very well,” and that he showed what a “scam” the case was. “I think it’s a very sad day for America. But anyway, this is a case that should have never been brought and it’s a case that should be immediately dismissed,” he said. 

Engoron issued a partial gag order on Trump in October after the former president made a series of negative public remarks about his law clerk. He was fined twice for violating the gag order, which Engoron later expanded to include Trump’s lawyers after he said they made “on the record, repeated, inappropriate remarks” about his principal law clerk.

Trump’s lawyers have appealed the gag order, but a state appeals court in New York reinstated it last week, arguing that it was necessary because of the “deluge” of threats directed at the law clerk after the former president renewed his attacks on her on social media.

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