According to Trump, the financial statements being presented in the $250 million fraud trial are of no value.
On Monday, Donald Trump appeared in a federal courthouse in Manhattan and vehemently declared that the financial documents involved in his $250 million civil fraud case held no value. He also stated that the trial was a politically motivated “witch-hunt.”
During a day of testimony that was at times intense and at times wandering, Trump continued to deny any wrongdoing and accused his accusers of being driven by political motives. “We spend all day here – this is just election interference because you want to keep me tied up in court!” exclaimed Trump.
The legal action was initiated by Letitia James, the attorney general of New York. She is alleging that the ex-president and numerous high-ranking executives of the Trump Organization, including his eldest sons, engaged in fraudulent behavior to artificially increase the worth of the ex-president’s assets in order to obtain more favorable loans from financial institutions.
The amount of excessively inflated asset prices is astonishing, impacting the majority, if not all, of the real estate assets in a given year. In September of last year, James filed a lawsuit stating this.
James stated that she anticipated Trump to resort to name-calling, taunting, and race-baiting outside of the court and refer to the situation as a witch-hunt.
“At the conclusion of the day, the only factors of importance are the evidence and data – and numbers, my companions, do not deceive,” stated James.
Before even arriving at the court, Trump launched an aggressive attack. On his Truth Social platform, he wrote, “I have a judge who is extremely biased and under the control of a corrupt club, and has a history of being overturned. The Attorney General is a racist, evil, and corrupt individual, but the case is deemed to have no merit by almost all legal experts.” He continued, “This is a bleak day for our country. It’s a witch hunt!”
During the trial, Trump engaged in a heated exchange with the judge, who warned that he could be forcibly removed from the courtroom. He was questioned about his possessions, which include Mar-a-Lago, his apartment in Trump Tower, and his Aberdeen golf course. According to the court in New York, these assets were listed at higher values than they actually hold.
The prosecutors inquired about the reason for the significant $245 million increase in the value of Trump’s Aberdeen property from 2013 to 2014, as it appeared that Trump had made minimal improvements to the property. Trump stated that Aberdeen is a wealthy location with a remarkable piece of land, and the golf course may be one of the best ever constructed.
He minimized the significance of the financial documents that the judge has previously deemed to be deceitful. When presented with a financial statement from 2011, Trump highlighted a disclaimer. He stated, “We would refer to it as a useless statement clause.” According to him, these were not documents that the banks paid much heed to.
“They just weren’t a very important element in a bank’s decision making process, and we’ll explain this as this very crazy trial goes along,” said Trump. “I can look at buildings and tell you what they’re worth,” Trump told the court.
In September, Judge Arthur Engoron, presiding over the trial, determined that Trump had been committing fraud for multiple years while growing his real estate business. Engoron is currently conducting the trial to determine an appropriate fine. In his ruling, Engoron dismissed Trump’s argument regarding “worthless clauses,” stating that the defendant’s reliance on these disclaimers holds no value.
Trump became irritable during his testimony. He stated, “Your argument was that I was broke. You sued me under the premise that Trump was financially unstable and that I falsified documents to deceive banks…”
Trump stated that the banks were fully reimbursed and there were no negative consequences or victims involved. He also questioned the banks’ understanding of the situation.
Engoron asked Trump’s lawyer if they could manage their client’s behavior. The setting is a courtroom, not a political event.
“I have requested multiple times for the witness to answer the question,” the judge reiterated. “I do not want any editorializing. We will waste time and not achieve anything.”
Engoron warned that if Trump continued to evade the questions being asked, he would be removed from the stand. “I will dismiss him and interpret his silence as incriminating,” Engoron stated.
Engoron has penalized Trump with a $15,000 fee for making derogatory remarks about his clerk on social media. Additionally, Trump has made disparaging remarks about Engoron, referring to him as a “fraudster” and a “biased judge who despises Trump and aligns with the extreme left.”
During the court proceedings, Trump claimed, “The court is committing fraud!”
“He accuses me of being deceitful… when in fact, it was he who did not accurately assess the value of the property,” said Engoron. “How could you do that? How could you pass judgment on someone and label them as a fraud, especially coming from the President of the United States who has done a commendable job… It’s a deplorable action on your part.”
Due to the court being closed on Tuesday for election day, there is a possibility that Trump’s hearing may extend into Wednesday, coinciding with the scheduled testimony of his daughter, Ivanka Trump.
The ex-president’s statement comes after his two grown sons, Eric and Donald Jr, gave their testimonies last week where they stated multiple times that they do not remember or have any information about the financial statements at the center of this case.