Donald Trump‘s $250 million civil fraud trial kicked off in New York this week and every day seems to be getting worse for the 77-year-old, one-term, twice-impeached, quadruple-indicted ex-president.
Not only was he already found liable for fraud, had his business licenses revoked, and been gag-ordered by Justice Arthur Engoron after attacking a law clerk on social media, but the testimony provided by witnesses, in particular his former accountant Donald Bender, has been truly devastating, and legal experts are now predicting he’ll be forced to auction off his ill-gotten New York properties, including his prized Trump Tower, when this is all said and done.
But the bad news doesn’t stop there.
Yesterday, Judge Engoron blocked Trump from making any moves to secretly protect his finances while the trial is still underway.
In his ruling, Engoron ordered the ex-president and his two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, who are also named defendants in the trial, to supply a list of all the entities they currently own, as well as any third parties that might share an ownership or interest in those entities. They were given a deadline of one week to provide the complete list.
Taking it a step further, Engoron also ordered the Trumps to notify the court in advance of “the creation of a new entity” and “any anticipated transfer of assets or liabilities to any other entities.”
Put simply, they can’t move any money or assets without first running it by the judge, which we’re sure Trump isn’t handling well. He hates being told what to do and struggles with following even the most basic instructions, whether it’s being told to vacate the White House after losing the election or being advised not to stare directly into the sun during a solar eclipse.
Engoron’s order that Trump inform him about any money or assets being transferred to third parties ahead of time also squashes concerns that he might shift them over to Melania, since she’s not a named defendant in the trial.
Although the ex-FLOTUS’s former Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham told Newsweek recently that she probably wouldn’t go along with a plot like that anyway unless she was granted “major control or power.”
“I just don’t know that she would want to take on that much responsibility unless she was guaranteed some major control or power,” Grisham said.
She added, “I suppose she would potentially do it for Barron’s sake, so he could eventually run everything if he wanted, but I don’t think she would do anything if there’s a potential that she would lose any kind of money or be on the hook for paying taxes.”
In other words: Losing money? Ugh. Paying taxes? Ew!
Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal Engoron’s latest order, although the trial will continue as planned in the meantime. It is expected to run through the end of the year.
Speaking outside the courthouse in New York this week, the ex-president said, “This trial is a disgrace!” Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is prosecuting the case, quipped to reporters, “The Donald Trump show is over.”