NEW YORK: Donald Trump arrived at a New York court on Thursday to attend his ongoing civil fraud trial, where his defence team is arguing that the former US president’s family company did not manipulate the value of its properties to win favourable financing.
The trial, which kicked off in October, is one of several legal challenges the former president faces as he mounts a comeback bid for the White House. The judge overseeing the trial, Arthur Engoron, has already ruled that Trump and his adult sons manipulated financial statements to dupe banks and insurers into providing better loan and insurance terms.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in penalties and wants Trump banned from New York state real estate business. Trump is expected to testify as the final defence witness on Monday. He has denied wrongdoing and says James, an elected Democrat, is biased against him.
“This whole case is a fraud. What they’ve done is they’ve weaponized justice,” he told news media outside the courtroom.
Over the past several weeks, Trump’s team has called bankers and others who did business with the Trump Organisation to testify that they did not rely solely on Trump’s valuations in deciding to lend to his company.
On Thursday, New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who does not work for Trump’s company, testified that he found that the company had made an accounting error in one of its valuations. But he said he did not see any evidence of accounting fraud. “There was no justification for any of these allegations,” he testified.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2023