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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Trump to Take the Stand Again in Civil Fraud Case


NEW⁣ YORK — After a pugnacious‌ first turn on the‍ witness stand, former president Donald Trump plans to ⁤testify again next⁣ month in his civil​ fraud trial, his⁣ lawyers ​said Monday.

He is to ‍return ‌Dec. 11,‍ defense‌ attorney Christopher Kise said.

Trump had plenty to say during his initial testimony Nov. 6 ⁢in the case, which has questioned his net worth,⁤ accused him of misleading banks and insurers ⁢and threatened his ⁣future ⁢in ⁣business in New York.

The⁣ Republican 2024 presidential front-runner denies all the allegations, and he used his first stint on the witness stand‍ to lambaste the case, the⁣ judge ⁢and New York Attorney General⁤ Letitia James, who brought the lawsuit.

“People don’t know how good a company I built. You know why?” Trump complained as one of James’ deputies questioned him.​ “Because people like you go ⁣around⁢ and try and demean me and try and hurt me, probably‍ for political reasons.”

He called​ James “a political hack”⁢ and dismissed⁢ a pretrial ruling against‌ him as a “fraud⁣ on behalf of the court.”

The‍ second round of⁣ Trump’s testimony could be still more expansive. James’ office led ​the questioning the first time; next month, that role goes to Trump’s own lawyers, and they can ask about a wider range of⁢ subjects than they could during cross-examination before.

When Trump’s son, company Executive Vice⁢ President Donald Trump Jr., testified for⁣ the defense​ this ⁣month, for instance, he lauded⁣ his ‍father, traced the family’s history in business back to ‌the‍ late ​1800s and talked the court ​through a glossy slideshow replete with sumptuous ⁤photos of skyscraper views, golf fairways, ballrooms,⁣ roof terraces ⁢and estates.

Eric Trump, who is Trump Jr.’s brother and fellow executive vice president, is due⁢ to testify for the defense⁣ Dec. 6, Kise said. Both Trump sons ⁣also testified during⁢ the ​attorney general’s part of the ​case.

‘There is no roll-up financial ⁢statement’

Now ⁤finishing its ⁢second month, the trial is putting​ a spotlight on the real estate empire that vaulted‍ Trump into public life and eventually politics. He maintains ⁤that James, a Democrat, is trying to⁣ damage his campaign.

At the heart of the case are Trump’s 2014 to 2021 annual “statements of financial condition,” which were used to help secure loans and ​other⁣ deals.

A Trump Organization executive testified Monday that the company no longer produces such⁤ statements.

The company continues to prepare various audits and other⁣ financial​ reports specific to some of its components, but “there is no roll-up financial statement of ⁢the⁢ company,” said Mark Hawthorn, the chief operating ⁢officer of the Trump⁤ Organization’s hotel arm.

He wasn’t asked why the comprehensive reports had ceased but said they ⁢are “not ⁣required by any lender, ‍currently, ​or ​any constituency.”

Messages seeking comment on the matter were sent ​to spokespeople for the Trump Organization.

‘No ⁣one had a problem’

Hawthorn, a certified public accountant,⁢ has worked since 2016 for the company’s​ Trump Hotels arm. Trump Jr. testified earlier that Hawthorn is functioning as the entire Trump Organization’s chief⁢ financial officer, calling him “the finance guy within Trump world now” and​ saying the CPA ‍”has taken⁤ on ⁣all those decisional responsibilities.”

But ‍Hawthorn said‌ it was incorrect to ⁣say⁢ “all.”

Defense‌ lawyer Clifford Robert used Hawthorn’s​ testimony to​ try⁢ to show that companies under the Trump‌ Organization’s umbrella have produced reams of financial documents ⁢”that no​ one had a​ problem with.” A ‍lawyer⁣ for James’ office, Andrew Amer, stressed that the‌ suit⁤ is about Trump’s ​overall statements ​of financial condition,‌ calling the other documents irrelevant.

Trump asserts that his wealth was understated, ⁤not overblown, ⁢on his financial statements. He also notes that the numbers came with disclaimers saying that they weren’t audited and that others ‌might reach different conclusions about ⁤his financial position.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who‍ will decide the verdict in the non-jury trial, has already ruled that ⁤Trump and other defendants engaged in‌ fraud. The current proceeding is to decide remaining claims ‌of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

James wants the judge ‌to impose over $300‌ million ⁣in penalties and to ban‍ Trump from doing business ⁤in New York — and that’s on top⁣ of ⁢Engoron’s pretrial order that a receiver take control of some of ⁤Trump’s properties. An appeals court ​has‌ frozen that order for now.

Truth Media Network
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  1. Agree with this decision. Civil fraud is a serious case, and everyone involved needs to be accountable, irrespective of their positions. This will help maintain the integrity of our legal system.


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