Judge says civil trial over Trump's real estate boasts could last three months

FILE - New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a news conference, Sept. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — An upcoming civil trial over allegations that former president Donald Trump lied about his wealth could last as long as three months, according to a schedule laid out Friday by the judge hearing the case.

Opening arguments are expected Oct. 2 in the trial over a lawsuit filed against Trump and his family business by New York Attorney General Letitia James. In the suit, James has said Trump deceived lenders, potential business associates and others by chronically exaggerating the value of his real estate holdings.

The trial is expected to feature extensive amounts of expert testimony over how much Trump holdings, like his golf courses and skyscrapers, were actually worth. Judge Arthur Engoron, in an order filed Friday, said the trial should end by Dec. 22, though he added that the lawyers handling the case could ask for additional time if necessary.

Trump has defended his asset valuations, saying that his estates, skyscrapers and golf clubs were luxurious, unique properties made even more valuable because of his personal brand.

He has also said that, even if some of the valuations listed in his financial statements weren't accurate, it didn't matter because each came with a disclaimer intended to tell banks that they were potentially “worthless” and shouldn't be relied on to make important business decisions.

James, a Democrat, has argued that Trump's financial claims were deceptive, designed to get him more favorable terms on loans, among other things. In a court filing Friday, she said Trump inflated his net worth by at least between $812 million to $2.2 billion, depending on the year, and possibly by as much as $3.6 billion.

The trial, which could also potentially take less than the three months the judge has allotted, will come as Trump is also preparing for trials in four different criminal cases filed against him in Florida, Georgia, New York and Washington D.C.

Some of those trials could come near the height of the Republican presidential primary, where voters will be deciding whether to make Trump the party’s primary challenger to President Joe Biden.