Key Facts about Trump’s Defense in NY Civil Fraud Trial
Donald Trump is on trial for a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who alleges that Trump and other defendants inflated asset values to obtain favorable loans and insurance deals. The trial has entered its defense stage, with the presentation of witnesses like Donald Trump Jr. and experts like Jason Flemmons, a former deputy chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The defense has also challenged the trial’s impartiality, leading to gag orders and a denied request for a mistrial, and is expected to continue presenting its case after the Thanksgiving break.
Trump’s Manhattan Civil Fraud Trial Continues
This week, the defense lawyers in Donald J. Trump’s civil fraud case proceed to bring forward their case, revealing insights into Trump’s business operations. The trial, initiated by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, accuses Mr. Trump, his companies, and sons Donald Jr. and Eric of exaggerating asset values to obtain favorable loan and insurance deals.
Judge Arthur F. Engoron had already declared the defendants guilty of fraud pre-trial, leaving him to decide on the penalty. Ms. James seeks a $250M payback from Mr. Trump and a permanent ban on him and his sons from running a business in New York. Mr. Trump denies any wrongdoings, arguing that assets did not have an objective value and that differing valuations are a norm in real estate.
Defense Witnesses and Expert Testimonies
The defense plans to call upon insurance expert David Miller and Jeffrey McConney, a former Trump Organization controller. Donald Trump Jr returned to the witness stand on Nov. 13, providing a positive portrayal of the Trump Organization properties.
Following his testimony, expert witnesses such as Jason Flemmons, a former deputy chief accountant at the SEC, took the stand. Flemmons affirmed that the Trump Organization used professional accounting methods and that it was acceptable to select the highest valuation provided the method used was disclosed.
Gag Order Momentarily Dismissed
During the trial, Mr. Trump violated a gag order imposed by the judge twice, incurring $15,000 in fines. However, on Thursday, a New York appeals court judge temporarily stayed the gag orders, a decision met with relief by Trump’s lawyers. Following this, Mr. Trump immediately posted a message on his Truth Social platform criticizing Justice Engoron’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield.
Motion for Mistrial and What’s Next
Last week, Trump’s lawyers called for a mistrial, alleging bias from Justice Engoron and Ms. Greenfield. Their motion was denied by Justice Engoron, stating that his rulings are solely his own.
The defense will resume presenting their case post-Thanksgiving, potentially calling upon more expert witnesses and bank representatives. Other defendants, including Eric Trump, may also be called to testify. The trial is expected to conclude by Dec. 22.
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