Trump Faces Key Week in the Courtroom as His Children Testify in Fraud Case

The former president’s children are set to testify in a massive fraud trial against him, he opens the week with a new gag order, and the dominoes continue to fall in the case against him in Georgia.

Former President Donald Trump faces a key week ahead, and yet again the drama won’t be on the campaign trail but in the courtroom as the GOP front-runner’s children prepare to testify before a judge.


Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump are poised to take the stand beginning Wednesday in downtown Manhattan to provide testimony under oath about their high-profile roles in their father’s business empire in a $250 million fraud trial related to Trump inflating the value of his assets and lying on financial documents to secure loans.

Trump’s two sons – along with several Trump Organization executives – are listed as co-defendants in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which argues that they were personally enriched by the decades-long fraud scheme. Ivanka Trump was initially listed as a co-defendant, but a New York appeals court dismissed that status, finding that the claims against her were too old.

Attorneys for Ivanka Trump also filed a motion to quash a subpoena for her testimony, arguing that she shouldn’t be forced to appear since the appellate court removed her as a defendant in the case. But Engoron recently denied the motion, pointing out that “Ms. Trump has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York.”

Editorial Cartoons on Donald Trump

The lawsuit has been a source of great frustration for Trump, who’s been present in the courtroom on and off for the last three weeks. It seemed to reach a crescendo last week during testimony from Michael Cohen, former vice president of the Trump Organization and Trump’s personal lawyer for many years, when Trump stormed out of the courtroom after the judge denied a request for an immediate directed verdict from his defense attorney.

The New York attorney general’s office provided a glimpse of the finish line in the fraud trial last week, notifying the judge and Trump’s defense team that they expect to call Trump himself as a final witness the week of Nov. 6.

His appearance will all but certainly shift the attention to Trump’s comments in open court rather than his comments outside of it – which are still drawing headlines.

A federal judge late Sunday reinstated a gag order on Trump that had been paused earlier this month, barring him once again from making or directing others to make public statements that target individual attorneys, witnesses, potential witnesses and court staff involved in the case.

“The First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice,” Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote in her decision, noting that Trump’s constitutional rights do not allow him to wage “a pretrial smear campaign” against people involved in the case.

“No other defendant would be allowed to do so, and I’m not going to allow it in this case.”

Chutkan is overseeing the case brought by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, which charges Trump with attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Chutkan had imposed a narrow gag order on Trump earlier this month, barring him from making public statements targeting prosecutors, court staff and potential witnesses. At the time, it was the most serious restriction a court had placed on Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric. But she paused the gag order to allow Trump’s defense team time to argue why his speech should not be restricted. The ACLU has sided with Trump, arguing that the gag order is a violation of First Amendment free speech protections.

Smith urged her to reimpose the gag order last week, saying that Trump used the short window of time since it had been paused to attack and intimidate witnesses – most recently in the wake of a report from ABC News that his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had been cooperating with Smith in exchange for immunity.

Trump’s statements about Meadows on social media “would almost certainly violate the order” Chutkan wrote in her opinion reinstating the restriction.

Trump said in a statement that he plans to appeal the gag order again and that Chutkan should recuse herself from the case due to what he described as her “blatant and open loathing” of him – a characterization he’s repeated many times since the Obama-appointed judge was randomly assigned to his case this summer.

“It illegally and unconstitutionally takes away my First Amendment Right of Free Speech, in the middle of my campaign for President, where I am leading against BOTH Parties in the Polls,” he said on his social media site, TruthSocial.

Despite the reinstatement of the gag order, Trump continued testing the boundaries, posting multiple times to his social media site about the “highly political” lawsuits and indictments, and calling Chutkan “a TRUE TRUMP HATER” who is “incapable of giving me a fair trial” and who suffers from “a major and incurable case of TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME.”

Trump, who’s facing 91 criminal charges stemming from four separate indictments, will also be watching any developments in Georgia’s Fulton County, where District Attorney Fani Willis is overseeing a sweeping racketeering case against Trump and 18 co-defendants related to their efforts to overturn the election results in that state.

Already four of Trump’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty, including Sidney Powell and Jenna Willis, former attorneys for Trump, and Kenneth Chesebro, the architect of the fake electors scheme. Legal experts widely expect additional co-defendants to plead guilty in order to avoid potential jail time – though Rudy Giulliani, the highest profiled co-defendant after Trump himself, pledged last week that he’d never cut a deal with the district attorney’s office.

As if Trump’s legal calendar were not full enough, a little-known section of the 14th Amendment will take center stage this week in two separate trials to determine whether Trump, the leading GOP presidential nominee, will be allowed on the ballot come 2024.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is a Civil War-era relic meant to prevent Confederate soldiers from gaining office and undermining Reconstruction efforts. It states that no one can hold office who has previously taken an oath to support the Constitution but who then engages in an insurrection or provides help to enemies of the United States.

But in Colorado and Minnesota, judges will begin to weigh whether Trump is disqualified from running for president given his involvement in the violent insurrection at the Capitol.

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