Donald Trump appeared in court in person on Monday for the opening of a civil trial in New York in which he is accused of widespread business fraud.
The former US president is facing down against judge Arthur Engoron, who he has called “deranged”.
The judge last week found Mr Trump and his company liable for fraud and removed business certificates for several of his properties, including Trump Tower in Manhattan, saying that Mr Trump fraudulently inflated his net worth between 2014 and 2021.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James alleges Mr Trump, his sons and associates used this information to obtain favourable terms from banks and insurance companies, and to gain tax benefits.
She is asking for $250m (£205m) and a ban on Mr Trump doing business in the state. Mr Trump denies all wrongdoing and has vowed to appeal the ruling.
On Sunday he was campaigning in Iowa, after a trip to California, where he said that people caught robbing stores should be shot.
Speaking about his upcoming trial, Mr Trump said: “An anti-Trump judge is attempting to bring down the Trump Organisation and financially break me.”
In a statement emailed to his supporters nationwide, he added: “Democrats are seeking to bring down the world-famous ‘Trump Tower’ and impose what some are calling "the corporate death penalty" upon me. This will be the FIRST TRIAL in the Democrats’ string of witch hunts designed to destroy our 2024 presidential campaign."
Eric Trump, who manages the property business at the Trump Organisation, claimed Mar-a-Lago was worth more than $1 billion, “making it arguably the most valuable residential property in the country”.
As well as the $250 million fine, Ms James is also seeking a lifetime bar on Trump and his sons from serving as directors of any New York companies, as well as a five-year bar on Trump or his company from entering into any property acquisitions. It has been argued that such punishments would amount to a corporate death penalty on Trump’s businesses.
Lawyers for the former president said the ruling amounted to an attempt to “nationalise one of the most successful corporate empires in the US”.
Even though Trump plans to appear in court on Monday, it is unclear if he will be called as a witness or give evidence. When he was called to give testimony in August last year, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times.