(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.
Trump, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate Trump’s net worth in order get more favorable loan terms. The former president has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have argued that Trump’s alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Oct 20, 3:39 PM EDT
Judge fines Trump $5,000 for violating partial gag order
Judge Engoron has fined Donald Trump $5,000 for what the judge called Trump’s “inadvertent” violation of his limited gag order that occurred when the former president’s false Truth Social post about Engoron’s clerk was not removed from Trump’s campaign website.
“Donald Trump has received ample warning from this Court as to the possible repercussions of violating the gag order,” Engoron wrote in a ruling after court had ended for the day. “He specifically acknowledged that he understood and would abide by it. Accordingly, issuing yet another warning is no longer appropriate; this Court is way beyond the ‘warning’ stage.”
The judge said he decided to impose a nominal $5,000 fine “given defendant’s position that the violation was inadvertent.”
However, the judge wrote, “Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include, but are not limited to, steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possibly imprisoning him pursuant to New York Judiciary Law 753.”
Oct 20, 2:02 PM EDT
Court adjourns for day without gag order ruling
The trial adjourned until Monday without Judge Engoron determining what penalty, if any, Trump will face after the judge said Trump violated his limited gag order by not removing a false Truth Social post about Engoron’s clerk from his campaign website.
Prior to adjournment, former Trump Organization vice president Raymond Flores testified about his limited role in reviewing Trump’s 2020 statement of financial condition and assessing the value of Trump’s golf courses.
Flores, who had a limited recollection of events, is expected to return to the witness stand to complete his testimony on Monday.
Oct 20, 1:49 PM EDT
Judge to hold hearing on Ivanka Trump subpoenas
Judge Engoron will hear oral arguments from the New York attorney general and Ivanka Trump’s attorney about whether Ivanka Trump will be required to testify at her father’s civil fraud trial.
New York Attorney General Letitia James issued three subpoenas to Ivanka Trump, who was no longer a part of the Trump Organization by 2016, in order to compel her testimony — but Ivanka Trump’s lawyer argues they should be quashed because the AG lacks jurisdiction.
The hearing will likely take place one morning next week, before the trial gets underway for the day, according to Engoron’s clerk.
Oct 20, 12:57 PM EDT
Thousands saw false post on Trump’s website, attorney says
According to Donald Trump’s attorney Chris Kise, 3,701 people viewed a screenshot of Trump’s false Truth Social post about Judge Engoron’s clerk that was added to Trump’s 2024 campaign website.
Engoron had requested that Kise provide specific information about the reach of Trump’s post after it was removed from Truth Social but remained on the campaign site. A screenshot of the Truth social post was available on Trump’s campaign site for more than two weeks after it was removed from the Truth Social platform, according to Engoron.
Kise said that the post was initially emailed to 25,810 people from a “press” email list. A total of 6,713 people opened the email, which directed recipients to a post on Trump’s campaign website.
Of the 114 million people who visited Trump’s campaign website between Oct. 3 and Oct. 19, a total of 3,701 users viewed the actual post, including the people directed to the post via email.
“You have to click through layers to get there,” Kise said.
Engoron has still not ruled on what punishment, if any, Trump faces for the potential violation of his gag order.
Oct 20, 10:38 AM EDT
Judge mulls holding Trump in contempt over gag order
Judge Engoron said he is considering holding former President Trump in contempt of court — and even raised the possibility of imprisonment — following what Engoron described as a “blatant violation of the gag order” imposed earlier this month during the trial.
Engoron imposed a limited gag order on Oct. 3 after Trump made a false social media post about the judge’s clerk. While Trump immediately removed the post from Truth Social, Trump’s campaign website appeared to still include the social media post until last night.
“Despite this clear order, last night I learned that the subject offending post was never removed from [the Trump’s campaign website], in fact had been on that website for the past 17 days,” Engoron said.
The judge said he was considering holding Trump in contempt of court, fining him, or “possibly imprisoning him.”
“Incendiary untruths can, and in some cases already had, lead to serious physical harm,” Engoron said.
Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise told Engoron that the website including the post was an “inadvertent” mistake and that Trump has tried to comply with the order since it was imposed.
“The Truth Social post was taken down when President Trump represented it to the court,” Kise said.
Addressing why the post remained on Trump’s campaign website, Kise blamed Trump’s “very large [campaign] operation.”
“This unfortunately is a part of the process that is built into the campaign structure,” Kise said.
Engoron, who did not immediately resolve the issue, said, “I will take this under advisement, but I want to make clear that Donald Trump is still responsible for the large machine, even if it is a large machine.”
Oct 20, 10:04 AM EDT
No evidence Trump asked ex-CFO to pump net worth, defense says
Defense lawyer Clifford Robert filed a letter late Thursday asking Judge Engoron to strike testimony from Trump Organization executive Patrick Birney about an alleged “scheme” to pump former President Trump’s net worth.
During his testimony Monday, Birney testified that former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg told him that “Mr. Trump wanted his net worth on the statement of financial condition to go up.” The New York attorney general has argued this statement supports the existence of an “illicit agreement or scheme” within the Trump Organization to inflate Trump’s net worth.
Describing the statement as “merely a recitation of what Mr. Weisselberg allegedly heard from President Trump without adoption or indorsement,” Robert argued that the statement cannot be assumed to be true based on Birney’s testimony.
“In any event, there is nothing in the record establishing President Trump actually made the statement to Mr. Weisselberg,” Robert added in a footnote to his letter.
Oct 20, 8:38 AM EDT
Ivanka Trump files motion to keep from testifying
Day 14 of the proceedings gets underway following a motion filed late Thursday by Ivanka Trump that seeks to quash three subpoenas that would compel her to testify in the trial.
Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, who was no longer a part of the Trump Organization by 2016, was dismissed from the civil suit by an appeals court in June.
But the New York attorney general still plans to call her as a witness in the state’s case. In early September, the AG sent subpoenas to three corporate entities affiliated with Ivanka Trump to force her to testify in person.
“The NYAG, which never deposed Ms. Trump, is effectively trying to force her back into this case from which she was dismissed by a unanimous decision of the Appellate Division, First Department,” Ivanka Trump’s lawyer, Bennet Moskowitz, wrote in Thursday’s filing.
Moskowitz argued that the subpoenas should be thrown out since they were not properly served and because the AG lacks jurisdiction to force Ivanka Trump, who is no longer a New York resident, to testify.
“The NYAG knows this, which is why it has subpoenaed three corporate entities as an end-run around its failure to pursue Ms. Trump’s deposition when it had the chance,” the filing said.
In a Thursday email that was entered as an exhibit to the motion, a lawyer for the attorney general’s office indicated they do not plan to request Judge Arthur Engoron hold Ivanka Trump in contempt. They instead plan to file a motion today to compel her to appear in court, according to the email.
Oct 19, 2:15 PM EDT
Eric Trump sought higher valuation of golf course, appraiser says
Eric Trump personally pushed for a higher valuation for 71 undeveloped residential units at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County outside New York City, a real estate executive testified.
David McArdle of the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield said he was hired to appraise the future value of the duplex units to be built along the golf course’s 18th hole fairway. McArdle said he personally worked with Trump Organization VP Eric Trump on the project in 2013.
“Eric loved this project. He thought it was very special,” McArdle said.
When McArdle eyed a value between $40-$45 million, Eric Trump pushed for a higher value, McArdle said.
In an email that was entered into evidence, McArdle wrote to a colleague regarding Eric Trump: “He continues to call me. I am uncomfortable not replying, please call him.”
McArdle testified that he wanted to be “respectful” to Eric Trump, who he hoped to work with on future projects; however, McArdle said he and Eric Trump continued to disagree about the value of the undeveloped units.
“Eric had certain ideas about value. They may have been more lofty than $45 million,” McArdle testified.
McArdle said was firm on the $45 million valuation, adding that he did not want to put “Eric in a vulnerable position” because the appraisal could be “under a lot of scrutiny by the IRS or a court.”
“We were sort of at the end, and anything beyond $45 million would have put people at risk,” he said.
Oct 19, 11:41 AM EDT
Lender says he partially relied on Trump’s financial statement
When Ladder Capital executive Jack Weisselberg worked on a $160 million loan for the Trump Organization, he partially relied on Donald Trump’s financial statements, according to his testimony this morning.
“The liquidity was really what we were paying attention to,” said Jack Weisselberg in reference to the $302 million in cash and marketable assets Trump claimed in his 2014 statement of financial condition.
Pressed on direct examination, Jack Weisselberg declined to say he fully relied on the statement, which the New York attorney general alleges was fraudulently inflated.
“The net worth was one of many statements we were looking at in the underwriting process. It was a factor,” Jack Weisselberg said.
He stepped down from the witness stand at the conclusion of questioning, though defense counsel reserved the right to call him back during their case.
Oct 19, 11:14 AM EDT
Attorneys spar in sidebar meeting
Lawyers for former President Trump and New York AG Letitia James began court with a 25-minute private sidebar discussion with Judge Arthur Engoron.
Earlier the attorney general’s office requested a forensic examination of Trump Organization data after identifying what they said were “likely omissions” of emails related to former CFO Allen Weisselberg.
“Excuse me, be more respectful,” state attorney Colleen Faherty audibly said during one point of the heated sidebar.
“No,” Trump attorney Chris Kise responded.
Oct 19, 9:40 AM EDT
AG requests forensic review of Trump Organization data
New York Attorney General Letitia James is requesting a forensic review of Trump Organization electronic data after identifying a missing set of emails between former CFO Allen Weisselberg and a real estate executive.
“The failure to produce these later emails indicates a breakdown somewhere in the process of preserving, collecting, reviewing and producing documents,” state attorney Kevin Wallace wrote in a letter to Judge Arthur Engoron.
The request follows an accusation from Forbes Magazine, reported in a story last week, that Weisselberg committed perjury on the stand, based on “old emails and notes, some of which the attorney general’s office does not possess.” Despite Weisselberg testifying that he “never focused on the apartment,” the Forbes story said that he “played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years that it was worth more than it really was.”
The letter from the attorney general appears to focus on an email exchange related to the value of Trump’s golf courses, rather than the value of his Trump Tower penthouse at the center of the Forbes accusations.
“We would therefore propose that the Monitor undertake a forensic examination of electronic data held by the Trump Organization for the very brief period August to September of 2016 to determine if all responsive information has been produced,” Wallace wrote.
While Weisselberg’s testimony concluded last Thursday, both parties have reserved the right to call the former Trump Organization CFO back to the stand.
Oct 19, 9:05 AM EDT
Trump not expected back in court today
After attending his civil fraud trial for two days this week, former President Trump does not plan to return to court today.
“We’re having a very big professional golf tournament at Doral, so probably not,” Trump told reporters yesterday when asked about his plans to return to court.
LIV Golf is holding a team championship at Trump’s Miami, Florida, golf course this weekend, which Trump plans to attend.
He has indicated that he could return to court for the testimony of his former attorney Michael Cohen, which could happen next week.
Oct 19, 8:45 AM EDT
Jack Weisselberg set to continue testimony
Day 13 of the trial is scheduled to get underway this morning with continued testimony from Ladder Capital executive Jack Weisselberg, who took the stand yesterday afternoon.
The son of former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is a defendant in the case, Jack Weisselberg said yesterday that he often worked directly with his father while working on a 2015 deal to refinance the Trump Organization’s $160 million mortgage of its 40 Wall Street office building.
The younger Weisselberg also described interactions with the Trump Organization executives who worked to protect the sensitivity of Trump’s financial information.
“I think they were concerned about confidentiality and wanted to make sure it got into my hands,” said Jack Weisselberg, describing how Trump’s financial documents were sent to him via a messenger.
He also testified how, when Trump Organization executives were contemplating a 2012 loan, they appeared sensitive about making certain financial documents public — including how much fashion brand Gucci paid in rent at Trump Tower.
“He is also nervous about Gucci’s rent becoming public knowledge, as he tends to embellish from time to time,” Jack Weisselberg wrote in a 2012 email that was entered into evidence, apparently referring to Trump.
“I recall it being public was a concern,” Jack Weisselberg said when asked about the information referenced in the email.
Oct 18, 5:21 PM EDT
‘We are here to enforce the law,’ says AG
New York Attorney General Letitia James denounced Donald Trump as “performative” during brief remarks outside the courthouse after court was adjourned for the day.
“He’s called me disgraceful. He’s called me radical. He’s called me a racist, and this is only Week Three,” James said of the former president.
She added that she looks forward to seeing Trump again, likely during the testimony of his former lawyer Michael Cohen, which could happen next week. Trump earlier told reporters he likely will not attend court tomorrow.
“We are here to enforce the law, and nothing will change that,” James said.
Oct 18, 3:47 PM EDT
Trump departs, says he’ll return tomorrow
Former President Trump did not return to the courtroom following an afternoon break, and his motorcade departed the courthouse shortly thereafter.
Trump told reporters on his way out that he plans to return to court tomorrow.
While leaving the courtroom, Trump was asked about a court employee who attempted to approach him during the trial today and was subsequently arrested.
“The attorney general should be arrested for what she’s doing,” Trump said.
Oct 18, 3:05 PM EDT
Court employee arrested for approaching Trump
A court employee is under arrest after she tried to approach former President Trump while he was seated in the courtroom.
As the trial was going on, the woman “disrupted the proceedings by standing up and walking towards the front of the courtroom and yelling out to Mr. Trump indicating she wanted to assist him,” according to a spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System.
The woman was stopped by court officers before she got near Trump or any of the attorneys. She was escorted out of the courthouse by court officers and has been charged with disrupting a court proceeding.
No one in the courtroom was ever in any danger, the spokesperson said.
Oct 18, 2:49 PM EDT
Judge bars attorneys from holding courtroom press conferences
Before the court’s afternoon session got underway, Judge Engoron announced he was prohibiting attorneys from holding press conferences or addressing the media inside the courthouse.
The announcement came a day after Trump attorney Alina Habba held a brief press conference during yesterday’s lunch break, telling reporters, “This is a scary precedent, legally, for any business in New York.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James addressed reporters on the courthouse steps after court had ended for the day yesterday.
Engoron’s order does not appear to apply to former President Trump, who is not an attorney. The former president has been addressing the media in the hallway during breaks.
Oct 18, 2:17 PM EDT
Jack Weisselberg begins his testimony
Ladder Capital executive Jack Weisselberg, the son of ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, has begun his testimony.
The younger Weisselberg testified that he began his career at the investment bank UBS as an analyst, moved to the now-defunct hedge fund Dillon Read Capital Management, then returned to UBS.
“There were layoffs at UBS and across the entire industry,” Weisselberg said about his eventual exit from UBS. He testified that he began working at Ladder Capital in 2008.
The New York attorney general alleges that the Trump Organization obtained favorable loan terms with Ladder Capital based on an inflated appraisal of Trump’s 40 Wall Street property.
Oct 18, 2:08 PM EDT
‘The government just got caught in a big, fat lie,’ says Trump
Defense attorney Clifford Robert continued to hammer at real estate appraiser Doug Larson during cross-examination.
Larson — who met with attorneys from the New York attorney general’s office on Monday in advance of his testimony — was asked if he was shown either of the two emails that this morning prompted him to recall having phone calls with Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, after testifying yesterday that he did not.
“During your prep session Monday, the attorney general didn’t show you these two documents?” Robert said while waving printed copies of the two emails in the air, to which Larson replied no.
State attorney Mark Ladov, on redirect examination, read a transcript from an interview with Larson from three years ago, in which Larson was shown the emails and offered a response that was consistent with yesterday’s testimony.
“This is beyond absurd,” Trump attorney Chris Kise said, objecting to Ladov’s approach.
Exiting the courtroom during a break, Trump seized on the Larson’s testimony to support his claims that the case should be dismissed.
“The government just got caught in a big, fat lie,” Trump said.
Oct 18, 12:15 PM EDT
Judge asks for quiet after Trump responds to testimony
Trump, who has been sitting at the counsel table with his attorneys Chris Kise and Alina Habba, had a noticeable response when real estate appraiser Doug Larson denied having conversations with Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney about the value of Trump’s 40 Wall Street property in 2013.
The former president made an inaudible comment, tapped on the table, and conferred with his lawyers.
That prompted state attorney Kevin Wallace to ask Judge Engoron to tell Trump to refrain from making comments.
“Can the defendant please stop commenting during the witness’ testimony?” Wallace said. “I believe exhortations are audible on this side of the courtroom as well.”
Engoron declined to specifically tell Trump to refrain from commenting, instead saying, “I will ask everyone to be quiet when the witness is testifying.”
Oct 18, 12:10 PM EDT
‘You lied yesterday,’ Trump attorney accuses witness
With Donald Trump sitting just feet away, lawyers for Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James engaged in a heated argument about whether an expert real estate appraiser committed perjury during his testimony yesterday.
“You lied yesterday, didn’t you?” defense lawyer Lazaro Fields asked Newmark real estate executive Doug Larson — a line of questioning that prompted Larson to be excused from the courtroom while the attorneys sparred.
“This witness has rights and a lawyer in the room,” Trump lawyer Chris Kise said, while lawyers for the state shouted “absurd” and “witness intimidation” from their chairs.
The squabble centered on Larson’s testimony about whether he assisted the Trump Organization in determining capitalization rates to value their properties.
“Did you work with Mr. McConney in 2013 to determine the cap rate that he used to value his property?” state attorney Mark Ladov asked Larson yesterday, referring to Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney.
“No, I did not,” Larson testified yesterday.
Fields attempted to contradict Larson’s answer this morning by showing emails between McConney and Larson that suggested the two occasionally spoke about market conditions.
“Jeff McConney would call me, periodically, not frequently, to talk about sales and market conditions,” Larson conceded.
But Larson denied having conversations with McConney about the value of Trump’s 40 Wall Street property in 2013.
After a brief interruption, Fields presented a 2014 email where McConney asked Larson, “I hate to be a pest, but the accountants are coming in tomorrow to go over my valuations. Any chance you can answer my question below?”
Asked about that email, Larson acknowledged that McConney was using his information to support Trump Organization valuations in 2013.
It was at this point that Fields directly asked if Larson had lied yesterday, prompting the witness to be excused briefly.
“He perjured himself yesterday, in my opinion,” Kise told the court.
“This is a performance … not a legal issue,” Wallace countered.
“He was accused of perjury on the stand,” Engoron noted before bringing Larson back into the courtroom.
While Larson still denied that he “worked with” McConney on the valuations, he ultimately conceded that he knew the information he provided was used to value Trump properties at the time — seemingly contradicting his testimony yesterday.
“You knew in 2013 that Mr. McConney was using the information you sent him, mainly the capitalization rates, to value the Trump properties?” Fields said.
“I did,” Larson said.
Oct 18, 10:06 AM EDT
Trump returns for second day in a row
Former President Trump is back in court for the second day in a row.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is also attending the proceedings this morning.
Trump was met with a swarm of cameras on his way into the court, though the courtroom itself is half empty, largely filled with reporters and security officers.
Like yesterday, Trump is sitting at the counsel table between his attorneys Chris Kise and Alina Habba.
Oct 18, 8:49 AM EDT
Trump expected back in court
Former President Trump is expected to be in court today for the second day in a row.
Lawyers for Trump have also suggested the former president plans to attend court during the testimony of his former lawyer Michael Cohen when Cohen eventually takes the stand.
Cohen delayed his testimony, which was originally scheduled to begin yesterday, due to a medical issue.
“[Trump] might have significant conflicts on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 8th” of November, Trump attorney Chris Kise told Judge Engoron regarding Trump’s schedule in relation to Cohen’s testimony.
“We are still operating on the assumption of Monday at the earliest” for Cohen to begin his testimony, Engoron said, adding that Cohen had submitted a “fairly extensive doctor’s note.”
Trump attorney Alina Habba, citing a conflict, requested Cohen’s testimony begin on Tuesday at the earliest.
State attorney Kevin Wallace said he would confer with Cohen on timing and provide a schedule update this week.
Oct 18, 8:36 AM EDT
Appraiser set to conclude testimony
Real estate executive Doug Larson, whose cross-examination began yesterday afternoon, is scheduled to complete his testimony this morning.
Larson, who testified yesterday that phone calls with him that were referenced in Trump Organization financial documents did not actually take place, faced hours of cross-examination yesterday by defense attorney Lazaro Fields.
Fields grilled Larson on discrepancies in the final drafts of appraisals — a process that Larson acknowledged was less of a “science” than an “art.”
Jack Weisselberg, an executive at the real estate investment firm Ladder Capital who is also the son of Trump Organization ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg, is scheduled to testify next about his work refinancing a loan of Trump’s 40 Wall Street property.
“I suggest we call him Jack,” said Judge Arthur Engoron, anticipating confusion regarding the actions of both Weisselbergs.
Oct 17, 5:32 PM EDT
‘Justice will be served,’ James says after court adjourns for the day
After court adjourned for the day, New York Attorney General Letitia James offered one of her firmest repudiations of the former president’s claims.
“He can call me names, he can engage in distractions, but at the end of the day … his entire empire was built on nothing but lies and on sinking sand,” James told reporters outside the lower Manhattan courthouse.
Trump has frequently targeted James in his comments during courtroom breaks, criticizing her efforts as politically motivated and pushing an unfounded theory that the case against him is part of a plot of interfere in the 2024 election.
“This is an attorney general … that went out and campaigned on ‘I will get Trump,"” Trump said before entering court this morning, repeating attacks that he’s made on social media.
James fired back that her team has repeatedly demonstrated that Trump committed fraud, both in the first two weeks of the trial, as well as in Judge Arthur Engoron’s pretrial ruling about Trump’s fraudulent financial statements.
“He will again attempt to distract each and every one of you, attempt to raise his voice and scream,” James told reporters. “But at the end of the day, justice will be served, and I’m confident that victory will be mine.”
Oct 17, 4:24 PM EDT
Trump leaves court early
Former President Trump did not return to court after the mid-afternoon break, leaving his attorneys alone at counsel table for the cross-examination of professional appraiser Doug Larson.
The former president departed from the lower Manhattan courthouse in his motorcade.
Trump is scheduled to sit for a deposition today related to a civil lawsuit brought by former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. Strzok filed suit against the Justice Department and the FBI in 2019, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated when he was wrongfully terminated the year before over private text messages with Page that reflected anti-Trump sentiments.
Oct 17, 3:55 PM EDT
Exec’s testimony shows ‘illicit agreement or scheme,’ state argues
State attorney Eric Haren has filed a letter with the court arguing that Trump Organization executive Patrick Birney’s testimony yesterday about Trump’s net worth should be admissible.
During his testimony, Birney claimed that CFO Allen Weisselberg told him that “Mr. Trump wanted his net worth on the statement of financial condition to go up.” Trump lawyer Chris Kise immediately objected to the statement as hearsay.
Judge Engoron then asked both parties to submit two-page memos by today, regarding whether the statements from Birney are hearsay.
“Regardless of its truth, Mr. Weisselberg’s statement tends to show the existence of an illicit agreement or scheme,” Haren wrote in his letter to the judge.
Haren argued that since Weisselberg is alleged to be a co-conspirator who carried out his “illicit objectives” through Birney, the statement should be considered admissible.
Oct 17, 2:23 PM EDT
‘Cohen didn’t have the guts,’ to testify, Trump says
While exiting court for a break, former President Trump took a swipe at his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who delayed his testimony in the ongoing trial.
Cohen was scheduled to testify on Tuesday, but postponed his testimony due to a medical issue.
“Cohen didn’t have the guts,” Trump told reporters in the hallway outside the courtroom.
Trump also continued his criticism of the law used by New York Attorney General Letitia James to bring the case, which he said “doesn’t give me any rights whatsoever.”
“I’m the victim here,” Trump said.
Oct 17, 1:53 PM EDT
Trump Organization’s claims are inaccurate, appraiser says
Doug Larson’s name appears across five years of Donald Trump’s financial documents, according to records entered into evidence.
A professional appraiser with the real estate company Newmark, Larson was cited in Trump Organization documents as an expert at valuing properties like 40 Wall Street, Trump Tower, and an adjoining retail space called “Niketown.” Spreadsheets entered as evidence explicitly reference multiple phone calls with Larson between 2013 and 2017.
When asked about these phone calls in court, Larson testified that no such conversations occurred.
“Is it fair to say that Mr. Trump valued Trump Tower at $526 million in conjunction with you?” state attorney Mark Ladov asked Larson.
“No, that is incorrect,” Larson said.
“Were you aware that Mr. McConney was citing you as a valuation source in his work papers?” Ladov asked.
“No, I was not,” replied Larson, who said he did not assist Trump Organization executives in valuing Trump Tower, Niketown, or 40 Wall Street, despite Trump’s paperwork referencing him as a source.
Evidence presented by the state instead suggested that the valuations were determined using cherry-picked metrics from a generic email Larson sent clients.
“It’s a way to get your name out to clients for potential work,” Larson said about one such “email blast” that was used in a Trump Tower valuation.
Larson added that the valuations Trump Organization executives determined based on “consultation” with him used flawed methodologies, such as using capitalization rates related to office buildings to appraise the retail Niketown building.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Larson said about Niketown’s $287 million valuation.
“It’s inappropriate and inaccurate,” Larson said about the Trump Organization relying on his name to support their valuations. “I should have been told, and appraisals should have been ordered.”
Oct 17, 12:01 PM EDT
CFO wanted fees omitted from ledger, exec says
With former President Trump looking on silently from his seat at the defense table, his civil fraud trial turned to the allegedly fraudulent valuation of his 40 Wall Street property.
The Trump Organization’s assistant controller, Donna Kidder, testified that around 2012, the company’s then-chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, instructed her to omit from a financial ledger some of the fees the company charged to manage the building.
Kidder said Weisselberg described it as money that moved within the Trump Organization from “one pocket to another.”
The ledger documents, which were provided to the real estate investment firm Ladder Capital, were related to the refinancing of 40 Wall Street.
“Allen Weisselberg said that since they were affiliated entities, management fees could be omitted,” Kidder said.
Lowering expenses would make the building’s net operating income higher and, thereby, make the building more valuable, state attorneys said. The move helped the Trump Organization claim 40 Wall Street was worth $540 million when its true appraised value was $260 million, said the state.
Kidder also testified about the value of a penthouse apartment in Trump Park Avenue that was rented by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in 2011. The attorney general’s office has alleged the apartment was reported at a value several times higher than the agreed selling price.
Kidder testified that Ivanka Trump had been given an option to buy the unit, Penthouse 28, for $8.5 million. However, on statements of financial condition, the Trump Organization valued the apartment significantly higher, at $20.8 million in 2012 and $25 million in 2013.
Oct 17, 10:15 AM EDT
‘There’s no fraud,’ Trump says before entering courtroom
Donald Trump is back at the defense counsel’s table in the courtroom, seated between his lawyers Alina Habba and Chis Kise.
Speaking to the press before entering the courtroom, Trump railed against the trial, telling reporters that his assets were undervalued, reiterating his desire for a jury trial, and criticizing New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“This is the railroading that’s all coming out of the Department of Justice,” Trump said without offering proof of the accusation.
Press photographers were briefly permitted to enter the courtroom and take photos before testimony resumed.
“They are the eyes and ears of the public, or at least the eyes in this case,” Judge Arthur Engoron remarked as the photographers left the court.
Oct 17, 9:47 AM EDT
Attorney general back in attendance
New York Attorney General Letitia James is attending the civil trial this morning.
After greeting the press in the courtroom’s gallery, James returned to same front-row seat she used earlier in the trial.
James attended the first six days of the trial but had not been in the courtroom the last week.
Oct 17, 8:16 AM EDT
Trump says he’ll return to courtroom this morning
Donald Trump plans to attend his ongoing fraud trial in downtown Manhattan this morning, the former president said in a Truth Social post this morning.
Star witness Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and self-described “fixer,” will be absent from the courtroom after a medical issue delayed his testimony.
Trump will instead hear testimony from his company’s assistant controller, Donna Kidder.
State attorneys also plan to call real estate executives who appraised Trump properties, as well as real estate executive Jack Weisselberg, the son of former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who worked on a refinanced loan for Trump’s 40 Wall Street property.
Trump was in attendance for the first three days of the trial when it began two weeks ago.
Oct 16, 5:23 PM EDT
Trump Hotels chief accounting officer concludes testimony
State attorney Andrew Amer concluded his direct examination of Trump Hotels chief accounting officer Mark Hawthorn by applauding Hawthorn’s skills and experience.
Amer highlighted that Hawthorn successfully conducted cash flow analysis, understood estimated current value, and applied the generally accepted accounting principles to his work.
Asked by Amer if he was ever asked to work on Trump’s statement of financial condition — a job that was handled by other executives like CFO Allen Weisselberg and controller Jeffrey McConney, who in earlier testimony acknowledged their lack of knowledge regarding foundational accounting principles — Hawthorn replied that he was never approached about the task.
“I would be qualified to give it a try,” said Hawthorn.
Hawthorn then stepped down from the witness stand to make way for Trump Organization assistant controller Donna Kidder to begin her testimony, after which court was adjourned for the day.
Kidder’s testimony is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning, when former President Trump is expected to return to the courtroom.
Oct 16, 4:14 PM EDT
Assets on statement were apparently overstated, exec says
Trump Hotels chief accounting officer Mark Hawthorn testified that in 2018 he inadvertently overstated the value of Trump’s assets by relying on Trump’s statement of financial condition.
When an outside accounting firm requested the amount of Trump’s liquid assets, Hawthorn said he consulted the financial statement that listed “cash equivalents in excess of $290 million.”
The New York attorney general alleges that Vornado Partnerships, a separate company with whom Trump has a limited partnership interest, owned 30% of the “cash and cash equivalents” Trump claimed in his 2018 statement.
In his testimony, Hawthorn said that information was not disclosed in the statement. He also said that he only was able to view the statement briefly in a 20-minute Google Meet session.
“It appears to have been overstated,” Hawthorn said of the representation of Trump’s assets on the statement.
Oct 16, 2:57 PM EDT
Michael Cohen could testify next Monday, judge says
The earliest possible day that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen could testify is next Monday, Judge Engoron said.
Cohen, who for years was Trump’s so-called “fixer,” said an ongoing medical issue had forced him to postpone his testimony, which was originally scheduled to begin tomorrow.
Judge Engoron noted that he has not yet received Cohen’s “all-important doctor’s note,” but that he hopes to receive it sometime today.
Trump attorney Chris Kise criticized the delayed appearance of Cohen, who he described as central to the state’s case — noting that Cohen has continued to post to social media despite his medical issue.
“He does continue to be active in his pursuit of my client,” Kise said. “He does not appear to be that infirm.”
Oct 16, 10:23 AM EDT
Judge says he’ll clarify upcoming schedule
On the heels of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s decision to delay his testimony, Judge Engoron said that “the schedule for the rest of this week is somewhat up in the air.”
The judge, however, promised to offer clarity about the trial schedule later today.
Engoron also acknowledged the anticipated return on Tuesday of former President Trump to the courtroom.
When the judge, while waiting for a witness to enter, joked about arguing before an empty chair, defense attorney Chris Kise replied, “It won’t be empty tomorrow.”
Engoron responded with a smile, saying “So I hear.”
Oct 16, 8:11 AM EDT
Michael Cohen delays testimony as trial enters Week 3
The civil fraud trial of former President Trump, his adult sons, and Trump Organization executives enters its third week with a notable schedule change.
Trump’s former lawyer and so-called “fixer” Michael Cohen, who was initially scheduled to begin his testimony on Tuesday, has delayed his court appearance due to a preexisting medical condition.
“I look forward to testifying and correcting the record as to the multiple misstatements and responses by previous witnesses who stated … ‘I don’t recall.’ Unfortunately for them, I do,” Cohen told ABC News on Saturday.
Trump is expected to attend multiple days of the trial beginning on Tuesday, according to sources familiar with his plans.
In the meantime, Trump Organization executive Patrick Birney is expected to conclude his testimony this morning.
Birney is scheduled to be followed on the stand by Mark Hawthorn, the chief accounting officer at Trump Hotels.
Oct 13, 2:32 PM EDT
Ex-CFO wanted inflated value for Trump Tower, exec says
Trump Organization executive Patrick Birney was once pressured by his former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to use an unrealistic metric to inflate the value of Trump Tower, Birney testified.
Birney testified that he consulted a generic real estate report to determine a 2.67% capitalization rate to measure the value of Trump Tower — despite an executive at real estate company Cushman and Wakefield recommending a higher rate, which would have decreased Trump Tower’s value.
When Weisselberg and Birney discussed the topic in a Trump Tower restroom, Birney said he encouraged the CFO to use a higher, more realistic capitalization rate that would be more sustainable, in order to maintain the building’s value in the future, Birney testified.
“I think he said, just use 2.67%,” Birney recalled. “I said I am fine using that capitalization rate, but I am worried that if we are only using 2.67, the building is so old, next year there might not be a cap rate as low as 2.67.”
The New York attorney general alleges that Weisselberg “systematically rejected” multiple valuations of Trump Tower in 2019 that would have lowered its value between $161 and $224 million.
Court has adjourned for the day, with Birney scheduled to continue his testimony on Monday morning.
Oct 13, 12:04 PM EDT
Firm mulled using presidential ‘premium’ to boost net worth
Trump Organization executives considered adding $144 million to Trump’s net worth based on a “premium for presidential property” in 2017, according to testimony of executive Patrick Birney.
The premium, which was applied to draft versions of Trump’s financial statements, varied between 15% and 35% for Trump’s properties, including his Mar-a-Lago Club, which was described in documents as the “presidential winter residence,” according to materials entered into evidence.
The potential adjustment followed a $200 million shortfall between Trump’s 2016 and 2017 statements, after a Forbes magazine article prompted executives to revalue the former president’s penthouse, state attorneys said.
“Who directed you?” state attorney Eric Haren asked Birney about adding the premium.
“I don’t really remember, but probably Allen Weisselberg,” Birney said.
Birney testified that the premium was eventually removed from the 2017 statement, according to a document that tracked changes made to the statement. He did not provide additional context about why the premium was removed.
Oct 13, 8:26 AM EDT
Assistant VP to continue testimony
Trump Organization assistant VP Patrick Birney will continue his testimony this morning on Day Nine of the trial.
Roughly 40 years younger than ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — his former boss and the previous witness in the trial — Birney testified yesterday that he largely relied on Weisselberg and controller Jeffrey McConney to put together Trump’s annual financial statements.
“I was not the final decision maker,” Birney said.
State attorney Kevin Wallace highlighted Birney’s statements during his opening statement as evidence of an alleged conspiracy within the Trump Organization to inflate Trump’s net worth.
“He likes to see it go up,” Birney said, according to Wallace.
If Birney completes his testimony today, Trump Hotels chief accounting officer Mark Hawthorn is scheduled to testify next.
Oct 12, 6:04 PM EDT
Trump Organization assistant VP explains valuations
Patrick Birney had been working for the Trump Organization for more than two years when a magazine article prompted him to change Trump’s financial statement, the assistant VP testified.
“There was an article written that stated that Mr. Trump’s triplex was actually 10,900 or so square feet,” Birney said, referring to a 2017 Forbes magazine article that alleged Trump had been lying about the size of his residence. (Judge Engoron decided in his partial summary judgment last month that the size was misrepresented.)
Birney testified that Trump Organization employees, including former CFO Allen Weisselberg, “verified” the size and adjusted the next year’s statement of financial condition. As a result, the penthouse was valued at $116 million in 2017 — a steep drop from the 2016 valuation of $327 million.
Birney testified that he looked up comparable properties to come up with the value of the apartment going forward.
“I Google searched recent penthouse sales in Manhattan,” Birney said, eventually landing on an web article about a penthouse purchased by billionaire Ken Griffin that set the record for most expensive home ever sold in the United States.
A price-per-square-foot for Trump’s penthouse was determined based on that record-breaking sale, Birney said.
When Birney was tasked with finding comparable properties to value Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, he similarly searched for nearby Palm Beach homes. However, Trump signed a deed in 2002 that limited Mar-a-Lago’s purpose to a social club, the New York attorney general alleges, making the price of nearby residences irrelevant.
Asked if he was ever told about the deed by anyone at the Trump Organization, Birney replied, “I don’t believe I was.” Instead, he said he first learned about it during an “interview with the attorney general’s office.”
Court then adjourned for the day, with Birney’s testimony scheduled to resume tomorrow morning.
Oct 12, 3:58 PM EDT
Trump Organization assistant VP says CFO had final say
Trump Organization assistant vice president Patrick Birney testified that CFO Allen Weisselberg and controller Jeffrey McConney had the final say on Trump’s financial documents when he worked under them.
“I was not the final decision maker,” Birney said.
Birney joined the Trump Organization in 2015, a few years after he graduated from the University of Michigan. He began helping with Trump’s statement of financial condition in 2016 and eventually took over preparing the vital financial document, though he acknowledged in court that he initially lacked some basic knowledge about accounting and finance.
Asked if he ever had valued a property using a capitalization rate, he replied, “I don’t think so.”
Birney said he would often turn to McConney if he needed specific documents, and that he reviewed drafts of the statement with Weisselberg.
“He would review drafts with me that I would provide him,” Birney said. He later added, “Allen Weisselberg had the authority to approve everything.”
Oct 12, 3:45 PM EDT
Trump Organization assistant VP takes the stand
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has completed his direct examination, although he might be called back to testify by either the attorney general or the defense, Judge Arthur Engoron said.
“I am lifting the prohibition on discussing the case with counsel or anyone else,” Engoron said about Weisselberg.
Trump Organization assistant vice president Patrick Birney, who took over managing Trump’s statement of financial condition after controller Jeffrey McConney, took the stand following Weisselberg.
Oct 12, 3:06 PM EDT
Ex-Trump CFO testifies about family members’ roles
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg, under questioning from state attorney Louis Solomon, addressed the degree to which Donald Trump’s three adult children — Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka — were involved in the day-to-day running of the Trump Organization during the period from 2011-2022.
“They wanted to get up to speed on how the business was running,” Weisselberg said, noting that Trump’s run for president accelerated their engagement in the company.
Emails entered into evidence from around that time suggested that the three Trump children requested financial information about the company’s operations.
During one email exchange, Weisselberg directly asked Eric Trump to delay paying off a loan related to Trump’s Seven Springs estate so it wouldn’t affect the former president’s cash balance.
“If we have to pay off the loan I would like to do it post June 30th as that is the date of your dad’s annual financial statement … to keep his cash balance as high as possible,” the April 2015 email said.
Oct 12, 2:38 PM EDT
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg returns to the stand
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has returned to the stand, nine months after he was sentenced to five months in prison for evading more than $1.7 million in taxes on unreported income in the form of company-provided perks.
One day before his sentencing in January, Weisselberg signed a severance agreement with his former employer saying that if he complied with all the conditions of the agreement, he would receive $2 million spread out over two years, according to court records.
One of those conditions, state attorney Louis Solomon highlighted in court, prevented Weisselberg from voluntarily cooperating with an investigation of his former company or boss.
“I didn’t give it a lot of thought, to be honest,” Weisselberg said when asked about the section of the agreement preventing him from cooperating with investigators.
“Is it just a coincidence that under this severance agreement, you are being paid $2 million, which is coincidentally the exact amount you were ordered to pay under your guilty plea?” Solomon asked.
“Coincidence,” Weisselberg replied.
Oct 12, 1:38 PM EDT
Bank’s loans to Trump were ‘good credit decision,’ says exec
Deutsche Bank’s $378 million in loans to the Trump Organization was a “good credit decision,” the bank’s former risk management executive told the court at the end of more than a day of testimony.
“I think we did a reasonably thorough analysis of the information,” former Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified under cross-examination by the defense.
An internal Deutsche Bank group evaluated Trump’s financial information, personally visited Trump Organization offices to review bank and brokerage records, and conducted some appraisals of property explicitly used as collateral, according to Haigh.
Though the value that Deutsche Bank determined for the properties often differed by hundreds of millions of dollars compared to the Trump-provided value, the entities continued to have what internal bank documents described as a “long and satisfactory relationship.”
“Using a Deutsche Bank-adjusted value for the assets, the net worth still exceeded $2.5 billion,” Haigh said, referring to Trump’s net worth as it related to a loan covenant.
When Trump decided to run for president and won the election, Deutsche Bank was supportive of the business relationship, though management was careful to monitor their particularly high-profile client, according to internal bank documents presented at trial.
“Note that the relationship continues to be monitored at the highest levels of senior management within the firm and any issues arising from the Guarantor’s status as President of the United States are immediately addressed, taken to the appropriate Reputation Risk committee, and discussed with appropriate legal counsel,” a credit report said.
When asked directly if the decision to work with Trump was a “good credit decision” by defense attorney Clifford Robert, Haigh responded, “I generally agree with that.”
During redirect questioning, state attorney Kevin Wallace stopped short of directly asking Haigh if he would have still done business with Trump had he known about the inflated value of Trump’s assets. But he asked Haigh whether Trump’s financial information could have been incomplete.
“You have no way of knowing if there was information that wasn’t provided to you?” Wallace asked.
“That is correct,” Haigh said, marking the end of his questioning.
Oct 12, 10:19 AM EDT
New York AG not in attendance for 2nd day
As the trial’s eighth eighth day gets underway, New York Attorney General Letitia James is absent from court for a second day.
While James attended the first six days of the trial, she did not appear at the proceedings yesterday.
Roughly a dozen lawyers and staff from the New York attorney general’s office have been attending the trial each day.
Oct 12, 8:44 AM EDT
Defense to scrutinize Deutsche Bank’s due diligence
Trump attorney Jesus Suarez will continue his cross examination of former Deutsche Bank risk management executive Nicholas Haigh when Trump’s civil trial resumes this morning.
Deutsche Bank was the Trump Organization’s largest single lender between 2011 and 2022, loaning the former president upwards of $300 million through the bank’s private wealth management division.
Describing himself as an “ultimate decider” of the loans’ riskiness, Haigh testified Wednesday that his decision-making process relied on Trump’s financial statements — documents that the New York attorney general alleges were fraudulent.
“I assumed that the representations of the assets and liabilities were broadly accurate,” Haigh said yesterday.
Earlier witnesses have testified about how Trump’s financial documents were drafted, finalized, and sent to banks — but Haigh is the first witness to testify from the perspective of the banks, which the attorney general says were allegedly deceived by Trump’s inflated financial statements.
Suarez, during his first hour cross examining Haigh on Wednesday, said Deutsche Bank was a sophisticated company that profited from the loans.
Haigh also acknowledged that the bank failed to conduct its own independent appraisals of Trump’s top properties, and did not rigorously examine his financial information.
Oct 11, 5:54 PM EDT
Trump’s business drew little scrutiny from bank, defense says
Deutsche Bank was a serious company in business with Donald Trump to make money, defense attorney Jesus Suarez said during his cross examination of former Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh.
At the height of its relationship with the Trump Organization, the company loaned Trump over $378 million and failed to commission independent appraisals of Trump’s properties, Haigh acknowledged. While the bank listed lower estimates for the value of Trump’s assets year after year, it continued to do business with Trump and his company.
“We … the bank hadn’t done all the due diligence one would do in the sense of the opinion of value you see in an appraisal,” Haigh said, at one point agreeing with the defense’s characterization that the bank’s internal value services group conducted “sanity checks” on the numbers.
The direct examination of Haigh by state attorney Kevin Wallace also left a central question about Deutsche Bank’s activity unanswered.
In a letter to the court and in previous arguments, lawyers for the attorney general suggested that Haigh might have turned away Trump’s business if he had known that Trump’s assets were inflated in value.
“As this Court noted during summary judgment arguments, Mr. Haigh testified during OAG’s investigation that he may not have authorized lending to the borrower if he had at that time been aware of the inflated asset values contained in Mr. Trump’s SFCs [statements of financial condition],” a lawyer for the attorney general wrote to the court in a letter last week.
Wallace never directly posed the hypothetical to Haigh during his direct examination, leaving the question unresolved.
Court subsequently adjourned for the day, with Suarez telling the court he plans to continue his cross examination of Haigh through Thursday afternoon.
Oct 11, 4:06 PM EDT
Bank wouldn’t extend Trump credit to buy Buffalo Bills, exec says
Former president Donald Trump and his company bid $1 billion in 2014 in an attempt to purchase the Buffalo Bills football team.
The only problem was that Trump needed a bank to help finance his bid.
Former Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified that when Trump turned to his bank for help, bank executives declined, fearing it would increase their financial exposure to Trump.
“Deutsche Bank was not willing to increase its credit exposure to Donald Trump at that time,” Haigh said.
But the bank was still willing to help Trump by sending a letter to support his bid, according to Haigh — on the condition that Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney certify that the company was still in compliance with the covenants of the three outstanding loans the bank had given Trump.
McConney verified that Trump had over $300 million in liquid assets in 2014, and that it suffered no material decrease in the value of his illiquid assets, according to a document entered into evidence today.
With that verification, Deutsche Bank issued a letter that Trump had the “financial wherewithal” to fund his bid.
Trump’s effort to purchase the Bills was ultimately unsuccessful.
Following this line of questioning, state attorney Kevin Wallace concluded his direct examination of Haigh. But he never asked Haigh if he would have approved Trump’s loans had he known about the inflated assets alleged by the attorney general.
In a letter to the court and in previous arguments, lawyers for the attorney general had suggested that the hypothetical question would be a central element of Haigh’s testimony.
Oct 11, 1:58 PM EDT
Trump had to maintain $2.5B net worth for loan, banker says
When Donald Trump negotiated a $125 million loan from Deutsche Bank related to his Trump National Doral golf club, the former president agreed to maintain a minimum net worth of $2.5 billion as a condition of the loan, former bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified.
The loan memorandum prepared by Deutsche Bank included a covenant that the “Guarantor shall maintain a minimum net worth of $2.5 billion excluding any value related to the Guarantor’s brand value,” according to a document marked as evidence today.
The New York attorney general alleges that Trump’s actual net worth at the time of the loan agreement was only $1.5 billion, an amount that would have triggered a default.
Retired Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified that he was involved in the decision to set the $2.5 billion figure, which he believed would protect the bank from exposure if the property failed or the broader market declined.
“It was set in order to make sure the bank was fully protected under adverse market conditions,” Haigh testified.
To calculate Trump’s net worth, Deutsche Bank looked at what Haigh described as Trump’s four “trophy properties,” all in Manhattan: Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street, Trump Park Avenue, and Niketown — a ground lease for a property adjoining Trump Tower.
Since the properties themselves were not provided as collateral for the loan, Deutsche Bank did not commission independent appraisals for the properties, and instead used a modified version of Trump’s own numbers.
“The bank normally only commissions appraisals on assets taken as collateral,” Haigh said.
Deutsche Bank adjusted their assessment in 2012, when they learned of a separate appraisal of Trump Tower that offered a lower value of the property than what Trump had provided.
“The bank felt that it had an independent view on the value of the asset,” Haigh said of the appraisal that prompted his bank to lower their value for Trump Tower from $1.2 billion to $992 million.
Oct 11, 11:59 AM EDT
Bank relied on Trump’s financial statement to secure loan
Deutsche Bank relied on the strength of Donald Trump’s “financial profile” when deciding to loan the former president roughly $125 million related to the purchase of the Trump National Doral golf club in 2011, according to retired Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh.
Haigh testified that because Trump used the golf course and spa as collateral — relatively “unusual” assets that Deutsche Bank would struggle to sell in the event of a foreclosure — the bank leaned on the strength of Trump’s larger portfolio.
“[Trump] is guaranteeing he will repay our loan — all the money due on the loan,” Haigh said about the terms of the loan. “He is also guaranteeing if the result is losing money, he will pay the cost of that shortfall.”
Haigh said that he personally reviewed Trump’s statement of financial condition when determining whether to sign off on the loan.
“My conclusion was the client owned a lot of real estate, which was not surprising,” Haigh said about his findings after reading Trump’s financial statement.
Previous witnesses in the trial have offered insights into how Trump’s annual financial statement was drafted, finalized, and provided to banks to fulfill loan obligations. Haigh is the first witness to testify from the perspective of the banks, which considered the statements when deciding whether to do business with Trump.
Oct 11, 10:56 AM EDT
‘Nobody forgot to check off a box,’ judge says about lack of jury
Responding to lingering questions about the lack of a jury at the ongoing civil trial, Judge Engoron stated on the record that Trump would not have been entitled to a jury trial.
“We are having a non-jury trial because we are hearing a non-jury case,” Engoron said, dispelling claims that the trial lacks a jury because Trump’s lawyers simply forgot to check off a box or file a motion.
“It would have not helped to make a motion. Nobody forgot to check off a box,” Engoron said.
During her opening statement, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said the former president would have preferred a jury trial, and Trump himself has made multiple posts on his Truth Social platform about the alleged injustice stemming from the lack of a jury.
“The AG checked off non-jury, and there was no motion for a jury,” Engoron said about the process in Trump’s case — but he added that if a motion for a jury trial had been filed, he would have rejected it because the attorney general asked for “equitable” relief, which does not entitle participants to a jury trial.
“I would like to say thank you, your honor,” Habba said about the clarification.
Oct 11, 10:36 AM EDT
New York AG not attending trial today
New York Attorney General Letitia James is absent from the courtroom this morning.
James attended the first six days of the trial, which started last Monday.
Former President Trump and Trump Organization VP Eric Trump both attended the first three days of the trial.
Oct 11, 9:39 AM EDT
Bank exec told AG he was unaware of inflated valuations
While the Trump Organization’s relationship with Deutsche Bank goes back 30 years, the attorney general alleges in her complaint that in 2011, Trump began doing business with the private wealth managers at the bank, rather than bankers who specialized in commercial real estate.
“In essence, rather than obtain credit facilities through the wing of Deutsche Bank with an expertise in commercial real estate, Mr. Trump began to seek funds from a wing of Deutsche Bank focused on servicing ultrawealthy clients,” the attorney general’s complaint said. “Hence, Mr. Trump’s personal guaranty, and his representations regarding his finances that backed up that guaranty, featured prominently in Mr. Trump’s loan transactions through the [private wealth management] wing of Deutsche Bank.”
During the attorney general’s investigation, Deutsche Bank credit risk executive Nicholas Haigh told investigators that he “may not have authorized” Trump’s loans if he was aware of the inflated values in Trump’s financial statements, according to a letter the state submitted to the court.
Oct 11, 9:04 AM EDT
Deutsche Bank executive set to take stand
Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial is set to resume this morning with the testimony of Nicholas Haigh, a credit risk executive who worked at Deutsche Bank when it issued loans to the former president.
Deutsche Bank was the largest single lender to the Trump Organization between 2011 and 2022, according to the New York attorney general.
Owing approximately $340 million to the bank at one point, the Trump Organization used Deutsche Bank to secure favorable loans related to its purchase of the Old Post Office Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, and Trump National Doral golf club in Florida, according to the AG’s complaint.
Oct 10, 5:23 PM EDT
Ex-CFO can’t say who OK’d statements after Trump became president
Ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg, who testified earlier Tuesday that Trump approved his financial statements before they were finalized during the years between 2011 and 2016, was unable to recall who approved financial statements after Trump was elected president in 2016.
While he recalled discussing some elements of the statements with Trump Organization VP Eric Trump, he declined to say that either Eric or VP Don Jr. had final say regarding the statements.
Court then adjourned for the day.
Court is set to resume Wednesday morning with the testimony of Deutsche Bank risk manager Nicholas Haigh, who is testifying early due to a scheduling conflict.
Weisselberg is scheduled to return to the witness stand later Wednesday.
Oct 10, 4:40 PM EDT
Ex-CFO OK’d financial documents used to prevent loan default
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg testified that he certified that Trump’s financial statements were “true, correct and complete” so the documents could be provided to lenders to prevent a breach of contract resulting in a loan default.
“Please see the attached report required per our loan documents, for the above referenced loan,” a Trump Organization employee would write to lenders like Wells Fargo, according to examples entered into evidence.
The employee would include a certification, signed by Weisselberg, attesting to the accuracy of Trump’s financial documents.
“Did you understand that if you failed to provide this, the Trump organization would be in breach of its obligations under the loan agreement?” state attorney Louis Solomon asked Weisselberg for each email.
“Yes,” Weisselberg replied.
Oct 10, 3:37 PM EDT
Weisselberg says Trump signed off on financial statements
Donald Trump would approve his financial statements before they were finalized between 2011 and 2016, ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg testified.
Weisselberg said that Trump often had feedback about the notes sections of the statements, which contained more detailed descriptions of Trump’s properties.
“‘Don’t use the word beautiful. Use the word magnificent,"” Weisselberg offered as an example of the kind of feedback Trump would provide.
Earlier Tuesday, Weisselberg testified that he did not meet with Trump or attorney Michael Cohen to review the statements. Returning to the topic after the lunch break, Weisselberg described Trump’s final review of the document as a regular occurrence before he became president.
“Did you ever send it to the Mazars [accountants] … as a final version before Mr. Trump signed off on it?” state attorney Louis Solomon asked.
“Not that I can remember, no,” Weisselberg said.
Oct 10, 2:18 PM EDT
Ex-CFO suggested 30% ‘brand premium’ for golf course valuations
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg explained the Trump Organization’s process for valuing its marquee properties as a complicated, months-long process during which the firm’s controller, Jeffrey McConney, would reach out to appraisers and brokers to better determine their value.
“This took months to prepare. It was not a simple task,” Weisselberg said, adding that he reviewed McConney’s final product at a “30,000-foot level.”
But Weisselberg acknowledged that he often intervened in the process to push McConney in a certain direction.
In one example, Weisselberg testified that he suggested McConney add a 30% brand premium for seven of Trump’s golf courses — adding tens of millions of dollars in value without disclosing the reasoning.
“Was the 30% premium you directed Mr. McConney to add to the fixed assets disclosed in the statement of financial condition?” Solomon asked.
“No,” Weisselberg said.
During a later portion of his direct examination, Weisselberg testified he sent Trump Organization employee Patrick Birney — who took over handling Trump’s financial statements from McConney — a newspaper clipping about a nearby Palm Beach property in order to support the valuation of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.
“Patrick — hold for next year DJT f/s, Let’s see what it ends up selling for,” a handwritten note from Weisselberg on the clipping said.
Weisselberg acknowledged his hesitancy to use that property’s asking price to help value Mar-a-Lago.
“Anyone can ask anything for a dollar amount. Doesn’t mean it’s going to sell,” Weisselberg said.
Oct 10, 2:01 PM EDT
Ex-CFO acknowledges firm’s fundamental failures of responsibility
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg acknowledged under questioning that the Trump Organization failed to fulfill some of the basic promises detailed in letters between the firm and its external accountant, Mazars USA.
“Do you believe the Trump Organization fulfilled that fundamental responsibility?” state attorney Solomon asked Weisselberg regarding a 2017 letter from Mazars that outlined the Trump Organization’s responsibility to select the accounting principles used in financial statements.
“No,” Weisselberg responded.
Asked about a separate letter outlining the Trump Organization’s responsibility to comply with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, Weisselberg initially suggested that the Trump Organization fully relied on Mazars to comply with the accounting standards.
“We relied on Mazars to understand GAAP,” Weisselberg said.
“You were relying on Mazars to make a representation back to Mazars?” Solomon said, prompting Weisselberg to reverse his statement.
When questioned about the seemingly boilerplate accounting obligations to which the Trump Organization agreed, Weisselberg appeared to struggle to articulate who at the Trump Organization fulfilled the basic responsibilities as outlined.
Oct 10, 1:21 PM EDT
Weisselberg denies discussing financial statements with Trump
After initially evading the state’s question, ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg denied that he ever met with Trump to discuss his financial statements.
“Did you ever meet with Donald Trump or Michael Cohen where there was discussion of the statement of financial condition before it was finalized?” state attorney Louis Solomon asked.
Weisselberg initially responded that he did not recall such a meeting happening, before answering more definitively.
“No. I don’t believe it happened,” Weisselberg said.
Judge Engoron, appearing skeptical of the answer, asked Weisselberg to confirm.
“Could it have happened, and you just don’t remember?” Engoron asked.
“I am saying it did not happen,” Weisselberg responded.
The attorney general’s opening statement for the case included a portion of the deposition of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who claimed that Trump met with him and Weisselberg to direct them to increase his net worth, in order “to be higher on the Forbes list” of billionaires.
“Allen and I were tasked with taking the assets, increasing each of those asset classes in order to accommodate that eight-billion-dollar number [Trump requested],” Cohen said in the deposition.
Oct 10, 11:55 AM EDT
Weisselberg concedes Trump’s triplex is smaller than valuation
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg testified that Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower is 10,996 square feet — which is a third the size that Trump claimed on financial documents.
In October 1994, Trump signed a document that certified his penthouse triplex is 10,996 square feet, but his statements of financial condition for several years beginning in 2012 listed the apartment as 30,000 square feet.
An attorney with the New York attorney general’s office showed the page with Trump’s signature to Weisselberg, who appeared to struggle to explain the discrepancy.
“It was always in my mind a de minimis asset on the statement of financial condition,” Weisselberg said. “I never even thought about the apartment.”
Louis Solomon of the attorney general’s office confronted Weisselberg with emails from Forbes magazine seeking clarity about the apartment’s size, as well as a letter signed by Weisselberg certifying the 30,000 square foot figure to the Trump Organization’s then-accountant, Mazars USA.
Weisselberg offered a lengthy take on the discrepancy, prompting Judge Arthur Engoron to intercede.
“Your role is to answer the questions, not to give speeches. Please just answer the questions,” Engoron said.
“Forbes was right, the triplex was actually only 10,996, right?” Solomon asked.
“Right,” Weisselberg finally conceded.
“I’ve been through quite a bit the last two years,” Weisselberg said at one point during the morning’s questioning. The former CFO moved to Florida following three months in jail after he pleaded guilty last year to criminal fraud charges and subsequently testified against the Trump Organization.
Oct 10, 9:47 AM EDT
Weisselberg to be questioned about valuations
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg is expected to face questions this morning about his work valuing properties like Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower and Trump’s 40 Wall Street building, as well as the Trump Organization’s efforts to secure loans from banks and Weisselberg’s direct conversations with the former president.
Weisselberg is the second named defendant to testify in the ongoing civil trial.
Trump Organization controller and co-defendant Jeffrey McConney, who concluded his testimony on Friday, was deemed a hostile witness by Judge Arthur Engoron, giving the state more latitude in their questions.
Oct 10, 9:08 AM EDT
Ex-CFO Weisselberg last year pled guilty to tax fraud
Ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s expected testimony this morning comes six months after he was released from New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex after pleading guilty last year to 15 felony charges related to a long-running scheme to avoid $1.7 million in taxes while working for the Trump Organization.
As a condition of his plea deal, Weisselberg testified last year in the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal trial of the Trump Organization itself.
“Are you embarrassed about what you did?” Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas asked Weisselberg during the criminal trial last November.
“More than you can imagine,” replied Weisselberg, who testified that Trump himself was unaware of his tax evasion scheme.
The Trump Organization was convicted and later paid a $1.6 million fine imposed by the judge overseeing the case.
Oct 10, 8:22 AM EDT
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg expected to take stand
Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is expected to testify when former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud resumes this morning.
A named defendant in the case alongside Trump and his adult sons, Weisselberg allegedly supervised and approved the inflated valuations in Trump’s financial statements at the center of the state’s case, according to prosecutors.
He’s also alleged to have personally met with the former president each year between 2011 and 2016 to review and get approval for the fraudulent financial statements.
“Mr. Trump made known through Mr. Weisselberg that he wanted his net worth on the Statements to increase — a desire Mr. Weisselberg and others carried out year after year in their fraudulent preparation of the Statements,” New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in her initial complaint.
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