Real-time Updates: Trump Testifies – Stay Informed about the Latest Developments

Former President takes the witness stand in the $250 million financial fraud lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General that will decide the penalties Trump, his two eldest sons and their family business must pay after being found liable for years of over-inflating the value of their assets.

New York financial fraud

Trump takes the stand

Key players: Former President Donald Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron, Trump Org. executive vice presidents Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, Trump Org. CFO Allen Wisselberg, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Trump lawyer Christopher Kise, N.Y. AG lawyer Kevin Wallace

Live updates:

  • After being sworn in, Trump testifies that he doesn’t think any real estate developer ever low-balled the value of his assets more than he has, USA Today reported. Engoron quickly issues a rebuke, telling Trump not to editorialize: “Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally, this is a courtroom,” Engoron says.

  • In another clash with Trump, Engoron vents: “In addition to the answers being non-responsive, they’re repetitive,” the Associated Press reported.

  • While Trump downplayed his own involvement in the preparation of financial statements James says were riddled with falsehoods, he did concede he had some role. “I would look at them, I would see them, and maybe on some occasions, I would have some suggestions,” he testified.

Why it matters: Engoron has already found the defendants liable for financial fraud, and the penalties he may impose based on Trump’s testimony could threaten the future of the family’s business empire in New York.

  • Engoron warns Kise that if he is unable to keep Trump on topic, he will excuse him from the stand and draw negative inferences.

  • Trump uses these clashes to attack the judge. “This is a very unfair trial. I hope the public is watching,” he says at one point.

  • Wallace asks Trump if he thinks Mar-a-Lago is worth $1.5 billion. “I think between a billion and a billion-five,” Trump says of his private club and residence in Florida.

  • At issue is whether Trump knowingly inflated the value of Mar-a-Lago, which, as a private club, could not fetch such a high price.

  • Pressed by Wallace on the wording on the Mar-a-Lago deed that states “the Club and Trump intend to forever extinguish their right to develop or use the Property for any purpose other than club use,” Trump responds,”‘Intend’ doesn’t mean we will do it.”

  • Wallace presses Trump on the overvaluation of his Manhattan penthouse apartment in Trump Tower, the square footage of which was listed on Trump financial forms at triple the actual size. Trump concedes: “The number was too high. They lowered it after that.”

  • But Trump then adds of the corrected filing,”They took 10,000 feet per floor, and they went times three. But they didn’t take out elevator shafts and different things.”

  • That comment drew a bemused response from Chase Peterson-Withorn, the Forbes reporter who interviewed Trump about his penthouse.

  • On the magazine that broke the story Trump had overstated the size of his penthouse apartment, Trump quips, “I have very little respect for Forbes.”

Why it matters: Trump acknowledged that the values of his properties had not been accurately portrayed on financial forms. His testimony was also marked by attacks on Engoron and for disregarding his instructions. Engoron will ultimately decide the penalties in the case.


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