Trump claims law clerk in New York fraud case is dating senior congressional Democrat

Donald Trump attends the trial
Donald Trump attends the trial - SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

Donald Trump has been issued a gagging order after claiming the law clerk in his New York fraud case is dating a senior congressional Democrat.

The former president, who has already attacked the case’s attorney general and judge, made an unsubstantiated claim that Allison Greenfield, the supreme court clerk, was in a relationship with Chuck Schumer, the Democrat majority leader in the US Senate.

Ms Greenfield describes herself online as a prospective Democratic candidate for the New York civil court elections, and reportedly posted a photograph of her and Mr Schumer on her Instagram account.

Mr Trump reposted the photograph on Truth Social, his social media platform, claiming: “Schumer’s girlfriend, Alison R. Greenfield, is running this case against me.

“How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!”

Donald Trump reposts a picture on his Truth Social platform
Donald Trump reposts a picture on his Truth Social platform

There is no evidence that the two are dating. The photograph reportedly originates from Ms Greenfield’s private Instagram account, which could not be independently verified by The Telegraph.

In response to the post, Arthur Engoran, the case judge, issued a gagging order barring participants from commenting on his staff.

“Personal attacks on members on my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I won’t tolerate it,” he said, adding: “Consider this a gag order for all parties from posting about any members of my staff.”

Mr Schumer’s office was contacted for comment.

Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed the civil fraud case against him in New York is politically-motivated, describing Letitia James, the attorney general, and Mr Engoron, as “Democrat operatives”.

On Tuesday, as he arrived in court for the second day of the trial, he said Ms James was “grossly incompetent” and a “fraud”.

In an email to supporters, he said: “The Left is hoping that if they can hurt me financially, that I will shut down my campaign and forever surrender our country to the radical Left Democrats and the Deep State.”

He added: “They can never take away my resilience, my courage, and my determination to save this country.”

The fraud case is one of several legal battles the former president faces in the run-up to next year’s presidential election.

Mr Trump is currently the frontrunner in the Republican primary case, but faces four criminal trials and two civil actions, including the accusation in New York that he inflated the value of his properties and exaggerated his net worth.

Ms James is seeking a penalty of $250 million and a ban on Mr Trump operating businesses in New York, where he runs Trump Tower, a condo, and 40 Wall Street, an office block.

Prosecutors in other cases have sought court orders to limit his public statements about the cases, citing the risk that juries could be intimidated or swayed by his comments.

The New York trial does not have a jury, which Mr Trump has claimed is “unfair”, although Mr Engoron said his legal team had not requested one.

Speaking to reporters at the courthouse, Mr Trump said yesterday that he would testify “at the appropriate time”.

Trial to run until late December

The trial is set to run until late December and he is not expected to be called as a witness for some weeks.

In Tuesday’s session, Mr Engoron also disputed the former president’s claim that “80 per cent” of the case had already been decided because of a statute of limitations that prevented the attorney general from using evidence from before 2014.

“Every use of a false financial statement in business starts the statute of limitations running again,” Mr Engoron said.

The court heard testimony from Donald Bender, a retired accountant who managed financial statements for the Trump Organisation and Mr Trump himself.

He said the figures that Mr Trump is accused of inflating had originated with the Trump Organisation and had not been verified by Mazars, his accounting firm.

The trial continues.


07:38 PM BST

That's all for today

Our live coverage of the Trump civil fraud trial has concluded for today.

Check back to our homepage for the latest updates.


07:06 PM BST

First witness concludes testimony

Donald Bender, Mr Trump’s former accountant, has finished his testimony.

He was questioned for hours by Kevin Wallace, a lawyer with New York attorney general Letitia James’ team.

He spent Tuesday morning methodically reviewing Mr Trump’s annual statements of financial condition.

Mr Bender, who is now retired, told the court that it was the Trump Organization’s duty to provide accurate information for their certification.

He told the court: “There were certain appraisals we hadn’t seen for certain years.”

He will face cross-examination after the lunch break.


06:34 PM BST

Eric Trump: 'Mar-a-Lago is one of the most valuable properties in the world'

Eric Trump, who is also a defendant in this trial, has claimed that Judge Engoron has been given “extremely misleading information” about his net worth, honing in on an official valuation of Mar-a-Lago, the private members club in Palm Beach, Florida.

It was valued at $18 million by Florida county tax records. The Trump family claims it’s worth as much as $1.5 billion.

Eric told Fox News: “Mar-a-Lago is one of the most valuable properties anywhere in the world.”

He added: “There is no one that does more for the New York City skyline than Donald Trump…we hire literally, and employ thousands and thousands of workers…but those details don’t matter to these monsters…”


05:46 PM BST

Pictured: New York State Attorney General Letitia James

Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General did not make a statement when she arrived at court earlier on Tuesday.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James arrives at the courthouse for the second day of the civil fraud trial
New York State Attorney General Letitia James arrives at the courthouse for the second day of the civil fraud trial - JOHN LAMPARSKI/AFP

Ms James smiled and pointed at a person who yelled “go get ‘em” and “thank you” as she walked up the courtroom stairs.

The state attorney has accused Mr Trump, his two adult sons and others of inflating asset values over a decade to secure favorable bank loans and insurance terms, and exaggerating Trump’s own riches by more than $2 billion.


05:02 PM BST

Trump 'appeared bored'

Donald Trump appeared bored as he listened to the testimony of his former accountant in court.

Mr Trump spoke frequently with his own lawyers as Donald Bender, his former accountant, spoke.

Donald Trump attends the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case
Donald Trump attends the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case - SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

The former US president sat hunched over the defence table as testimony resumed on Tuesday at his civil fraud trial.


04:40 PM BST

Trial goes to break

The trial has paused for a 15 minute break.

We will be back with all the latest updates shortly.


04:22 PM BST

Analysis: Bender's testimony is key to pinning fraud to Trump

In lengthy examination sessions yesterday and this morning, Donald Bender’s testimony has become quite repetitive, reports Tony Diver, The Telegraph’s US Editor.

The attorney general’s office, led by Kevin Wallace, is taking Mr Bender through documents produced over the court of a decade and asking him where the numbers came from.

That is because Mr Bender’s testimony is key to the plaintiff establishing a key point: that the published details of Mr Trump’s finances came from the Trump Organisation and were not independently audited by an accounting firm.

The fact that the value of Mr Trump’s properties was grossly exaggerated is not under dispute here -- the question is how the numbers were inflated, and by whom?

Mr Bender, previously one of the only outsiders with intimate knowledge of the finances, is here to establish that blame in this case should lie with those at the top of the Trump Organisation -- with Mr Trump, his CFO and his children.


04:21 PM BST

Bender back on witness stand

Donald Bender, the former Trump Organisation accountant, has returned to the witness stand for the second day of the trial.

Testifying, he said the information he used to compile Donald Trump’s financial statements derived from the Trump Organisation, and not from him.

Mr Bender was the first witness called by the New York Attorney General’s office on Monday.


04:16 PM BST

Who is Arthur Engoron, the New York judge taking on Donald Trump?

The man charged with ruling on Donald Trump’s property empire is no stranger to court battles with the former president.

Since Arthur Engoron began presiding over cases linked to Mr Trump in 2020, he has forced him to sit for a deposition, held him in contempt of court and fined him more than $100,000.

Their running battle has given rise to a bitter enmity between the two men.

Mr Trump has called him “unhinged” and “deranged”, and a “political hack”, while Mr Engoron has used official rulings to mock the former president using pop culture references.

Read more here


03:44 PM BST

Pictured: Trump in courtroom

Donald Trumps sits in court, flanked by lawyers Chris Kise and Alina Habba.

Donald Trump attends the trial at a Manhattan courthouse
Donald Trump attends the trial at a Manhattan courthouse - SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS
Former President Donald Trump, centre, sits in the courtroom with is legal team
Former President Donald Trump, centre, sits in the courtroom with is legal team - Seth Wenig/POOL AP

03:27 PM BST

Trump renews attacks on NY attorney general

Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on the New York attorney general bringing a case against him, claiming that “her numbers are fraudulent.”

Letitia James, the state attorney, has accused Mr Trump, his two adult sons and others of inflating asset values over a decade to secure favorable bank loans and insurance terms, and exaggerating Trump’s own riches by more than $2 billion.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media before entering the courtroom at New York Supreme Court
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media before entering the courtroom at New York Supreme Court - Seth Wenig/AP

Before entering the courtroom for the second day of his civil fraud trial, he accused Ms James of being  “grossly incompetent” and claimed she had concocted a bogus case.

“Her numbers are fraudulent,” he alleged, adding, “she’s a fraud.”

Ms James, who did not make a statement when she arrived at court, smiled and pointed at a person who yelled “go get ‘em” and “thank you” as she walked up the stairs.


03:05 PM BST

Trump: 'They can never take away my resilience'

Donald Trump has said he is attending the second day of the civil trial in New York.

In an email, he claimed that an anti-Trump judge was attempting to “bring down” the Trump organisation and “financially break” him.

He continued: “The Left is hoping that if they can hurt me financially, that I will shut down my campaign and forever surrender our country to the radical Left Democrats and the Deep State.

“They want to take away my freedom, my finances, and harass my family.

“But they can never take away my resilience, my courage, and my determination to save this country.”


02:58 PM BST

Meet Alina Habba, Trump’s colourful lawyer armed with a gaming laptop

Donald Trump was not the only person to attract attention when his fraud trial began in Manhattan.

Seated next to the former president was Alina Habba, a key member of his legal team with what appeared to be a gaming laptop with a logo that changed colours as the hearing unfolded.

Her advocacy was equally colourful, defending the valuation of his real estate as “Mona Lisa properties” which fully justified the valuation he and his organisation placed on them.

The 39-year-old attorney has been closely associated with the former president for some time, with Mr Trump even attending her birthday party.

Read more here


02:46 PM BST

Pictured: Trump departing Trump Tower

Former US President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower for a Manhattan courthouse trial
Former US President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower for a Manhattan courthouse trial - CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS

02:34 PM BST

Trump departs Trump Tower

Donald Trump has left Trump Tower and is expected to be heading to court for the second day of his civil trial in New York.

The former US president posted on his Truth Social page: “See you in Court on Tuesday morning!”

Mr Trump unexpectedly attended the first day of the New York trial on Monday in person.

Mr Trump’s arrival for the first day of the trial saw much of the area surrounding the courthouse closed off to the public on Monday morning, as crowds of protesters, police officers and reporters formed from 4am.


02:19 PM BST

Analysis: Donald Trump's latest trial will hit him where it hurts – his ego

Donald Trump’s latest court battle is by no means the most serious legal challenge he faces in the run up to the 2024 presidential election, reports Tony Diver, The Telegraph’s US Editor.

Several of his criminal indictments, for allegedly subverting election results, falsifying business records and mishandling stolen documents – could result in lengthy prison sentences.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower after attending the first day of his civil fraud trial on October 02
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower after attending the first day of his civil fraud trial on October 02 - James Devaney/GC Images

By contrast, the New York attorney general in the civil fraud suit is seeking a penalty of a mere $250 million and a ban on operating businesses in the state.

So why did Mr Trump choose to focus the world’s attention on this week’s trial by attending it in person?

Read more here


02:15 PM BST

Donald Trump ‘gained $100m in financial benefits by lying about assets’, court hears

Donald Trump gained more than $100 million (£82 million) by lying about the value of his property empire, the judge in his fraud trial was told on Monday.

Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in state Attorney General Letitia James’ office, said in his opening statement in a downtown Manhattan courtroom that Mr Trump described his finances to banks and insurers in a “materially inaccurate way” for a decade.

Wallace said Mr Trump did this to get better loan terms and lower insurance premiums, illegally generating more than $100 million of financial benefits.

Read more from Tony Diver, The Telegraph’s US Editor, here


02:13 PM BST

When will Trump appear in court?

The second day of the trial is due to begin at 3pm BST (10am ET) today in a New York courtroom.

Donald Bender, Trump’s former accountant, is expected to continue his testimony today.

Mr Bender was the first witness called by the New York Attorney General’s office on Monday.


02:01 PM BST

Good Afternoon

Welcome to today’s liveblog following the second day of Donald Trump’s civil trial in Manhattan, New York.

We will be guiding you through all the latest updates.