(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million civil lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.
Trump, his sons Eric Trump and and Donald Trump Jr., and other top 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 trial comes after the judge in the case ruled in a partial summary judgment that Trump had submitted “fraudulent valuations” for his assets, leaving the trial to determine additional actions and what penalty, if any, the defendants should receive.
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:
Dec 12, 9:36 AM EST
Trump’s defense expected to rest its case today
After presenting four weeks of testimony, Donald Trump’s lawyers are scheduled to rest their case in the former president’s civil fraud trial today.
With Trump no longer testifying as a defense witness, New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov will be Trump’s final witness.
Resuming his cross-examination this morning, Bartov is likely to face questions about inconsistencies and potential bias in his analysis of Trump’s financial statements. Paid an hourly rate of $1,350 for 650 hours of work, Bartov said last week that he received payments from both the Trump Organization and Trump’s Save America PAC.
Bartov strongly defended Trump’s statements of financial condition, the documents at the center of the New York attorney general’s case, during his testimony last week, saying that he could find “no evidence whatsoever for any accounting fraud.” Bartov also argued the documents were insignificant to the banks that loaned Trump money, which he said used their own analysis to make their loan decisions.
“It is impossible to argue — it is really absurd to argue — that Deutsche Bank or any bank or any lender would make lending decisions based on the statements of financial condition,” Bartov said. “This should close the book on this case.”
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