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Trump returns to court docket as New York fraud trial nears its finish

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Former President Donald Trump returned to a New York courtroom on Thursday to attend his civil fraud trial, the place his protection crew questioned its remaining professional witness because the case approaches its conclusion.

Trump has attended the trial, which started on Oct. 2, eight earlier occasions, together with when he testified himself on Nov. 6. That day, he clashed with Judge Arthur Engoron, straying from questions and incomes reprimands.

Trump, two of his sons and their firm are accused of collaborating in a decade-long fraud scheme involving huge misrepresentations of Trump’s wealth to draw favorable charges on loans and insurance coverage. They have all denied wrongdoing within the case. Eric Trump joined his father in court docket on Thursday.

Thursday’s testimony

The former president listened as his legal professional questioned Eli Bartov, a New York University accounting professor who testified concerning the position of property valuations in monetary statements which might be on the coronary heart of the fraud case. He mentioned that he noticed “no proof by any means for accounting fraud,” and that the statements of monetary situation “weren’t materially misstated.”

“So your professional opinion is, from an accounting perspective, the legal professional normal’s grievance had no advantage?” the choose requested.

“This is completely [my] opinion, sure,” Bartov replied.

Former President Donald Trump attends his civil fraud trial in the New York State Supreme Court on Dec. 7, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump attends his civil fraud trial within the New York State Supreme Court on Dec. 7, 2023.

EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/POOL/AFP by way of Getty Images


Bartov additionally acknowledged that the worth of Trump’s penthouse in Trump Tower in Manhattan was “inflated” in his monetary assertion, however attributed the discrepancy to “an error within the calculation,” which he mentioned was “commonplace.” Forbes journal revealed in 2017 that Trump’s three-story residence was a couple of third of the dimensions he had lengthy claimed — about 11,000 sq. toes, as an alternative of greater than 30,000 — and to date much less useful.

Kevin Wallace, a lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James, mentioned Bartov’s opinions weren’t related to proof introduced at trial. He and one other lawyer for James attacked Bartov’s means to render opinions on banking choices and credit score evaluation associated to non-public firms.

As Trump walked out of the courtroom throughout a mid-morning break, he stopped to assessment court docket artist Jane Rosenberg’s sketch.

“Nice,” he mentioned, based on Rosenberg.

Moments later, he hailed a call by an appellate court docket that prolonged an Oct. 6 order pausing the dissolution of Trump’s firm whereas the trial is ongoing. That order stemmed from a Sept. 26 pretrial ruling discovering Trump and the corporate answerable for fraud.

“I believe it is an incredible factor for the nation, a really robust choice by the Appellate Division, simply getting down this second,” Trump mentioned. “That choice may be very highly effective.”

His legal professional Christopher Kise additionally lauded the choice in a press release to CBS News.

“President Trump very a lot appreciates the court docket’s consideration and ruling at the moment. The ruling helps pave the best way for a a lot wanted, and deliberative, assessment of the trial court docket’s many errors,” Kise mentioned.

Tensions within the courtroom boiled over within the early afternoon after Wallace objected to a few of Bartov’s testimony, describing it as “pure hypothesis from somebody they employed to say no matter it’s they need.”

“You actually should be ashamed of your self,” Bartov replied, his voice rising. “You make up allegations that by no means existed. I’m right here to inform the reality. You ought to be ashamed of your self, speaking to me like that.”

Bartov later supplied testimony that bolstered Trump’s personal Nov. 6 testimony on this case, that the statements on the middle of the case warned banks to make use of them at their very own danger.

“This is just like the warning of the surgeon normal on a field of cigarettes,” Bartov mentioned. 

He later described a disclaimer within the statements as that means, “use your personal evaluation and provide you with your personal estimate.”

“I by no means noticed something clearer than that, even my 9-year-old granddaughter … would perceive that language,” Bartov mentioned.

Trump sat in rapt consideration as Bartov lauded his monetary statements.

“I’ve by no means seen a press release that gives a lot element and is so clear,” Bartov mentioned. “The footnotes present an superior quantity of knowledge.”

Bartov’s testimony was peppered with withering criticism of the legal professional normal’s case, calling it “absurd” on a number of events.

“It’s unimaginable to argue, it is actually absurd to argue that Deutsche Bank or any financial institution, or any lender, would make lending choices based mostly on” private monetary statements, he mentioned. “They cannot make choices based mostly on 20% of knowledge.”

“This ought to shut the guide on this case,” Bartov mentioned.

The Trump fraud case

In the civil fraud trial, New York Attorney General Letitia James is in search of to claw again $250 million for the state, in addition to sanctions in opposition to the defendants designed to severely restrict their means to do business in New York.

Trump has seethed at James outdoors the courtroom, together with on Thursday, when he known as her “loopy” and a “lunatic.”

He and Engoron have additionally been at loggerheads since early within the trial, when Trump printed a social media submit attacking the choose’s regulation clerk. The choose then imposed a restricted gag order, which Trump raged in opposition to and twice violated, incurring $15,000 in fines.

Three of Trump’s youngsters, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, have additionally testified through the trial. The two sons are defendants within the case, however Ivanka Trump just isn’t. She was initially a defendant, however the allegations in opposition to her have been dismissed by an appellate court docket that dominated they have been outdoors the statute of limitations.

Donald Trump himself is scheduled to be the ultimate witness known as in his personal protection on Monday, Dec. 11.

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