Trump to testify in fraud trial ahead of primaries, lawyer says

Topline

Former President Donald Trump will testify under oath next year to find out whether he and his company fraudulently inflated asset values ​​for profit, his lawyer said in court on Tuesday, as the Trump Organization is set to stand trial. in October, just before Trump called for it. voters to re-elect him as president in the 2024 primary elections.

Highlights

Trump’s attorney Alina Habba told a New York state judge on Tuesday that Trump intended to testify at trial, Insider and the FinancialTimes report.

Habba said Trump wanted to defend himself in a trial of Manhattan residents, Insider reports, preferring a jury trial to one in which only the judge decides the verdict.

The hearing came after Trump and other plaintiffs in the case, including his children and the Trump Organization, filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who alleges that the company has repeatedly misrepresented the value of its assets for financial gain.

The lawsuit directly implicates Trump himself, alleging that fraudulent documents “were approved at the highest levels of the Trump organization, including by Mr. Trump himself.”

New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron — who Trump says is biased against him and fought unsuccessfully to have the case dropped — had little patience to try to dismiss the case, several media report, claiming that the ex-president’s legal arguments were “deja vu again” and rehashed arguments he had already rejected in the case.

Engoron has set a trial date for October 2, 2023, although the FinancialTimes reports Trump’s lawyers are seeking to delay the trial.

To monitor

The New York lawsuit asks the court to impose a series of sanctions on Trump, his children and his company, including the imposition of a $250 million fine, the cancellation of certificates from Trump’s companies, the imposition of greater surveillance on the company, the ban on engaging in commercial real estate. acquisitions for five years and precluding him and his children from exercising managerial or administrative functions in any New York business. The case is a civil suit, which means it will not result in any criminal penalties for Trump or his company if found guilty, but James said when filing the complaint that his office also turned over evidence of crimes within the Department of Justice and internally. Revenue Service, which could result in additional criminal charges.

Tangent

The lawsuit regarding James’ trial is separate from a separate lawsuit the Trump Organization is currently facing for alleged tax evasion, which is based on criminal charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and has been ongoing since October. . Unlike James’s trial, Trump is not personally involved in this case and will not testify.

Surprising fact

Trump’s willingness to testify in the New York trial comes as the president has fought many times in the past to testify under oath. The president and his children had to be compelled to testify in the James investigation that led to the civil trial after fighting subpoenas in court, and while Trump was deposed in the investigation, he refused to answer questions and instead invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. The ex-president is also fighting a subpoena for his testimony as part of the January 6 House Committee investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Key context

James sued Trump, his company and his associates in September after investigating the finances of the Trump Organization since March 2019, after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified in Congress that Trump fraudulently inflated or deflated the value of its assets on the financial statements for personal use. The lawsuit accuses the Trump Organization of making more than 200 false or misleading appraisals of its assets over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021, which the AG says were done to secure financial benefits like conditions more favorable with lenders or to increase Trump’s own. net value. Engoron’s reluctance to dismiss the case on Tuesday comes after the judge previously sided with James’ office earlier in November and granted their request to appoint an independent monitor, who will oversee the organization’s activities. Trump in order to prevent further alleged fraud from taking place until the case is resolved at trial.

Further reading

Donald Trump to testify in New York court to defend his business empire (Insider)

NY AG James sues Trump for fraud (Forbes)

Judge appoints independent monitor to oversee Trump Organization in fraud investigation (Forbes)

Checks and Imbalances: A Forbes Look at Trump’s Fraud Trial (Forbes)

Exclusive recording, documents bolster Trump fraud lawsuit (Forbes)

How Forbes exposed Trump’s lies about the size of his penthouse (Forbes)