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Third Day of Trump’s Civil Fraud Trial Focuses on Accountant Who Compiled His Financial Statements

by Sophia Chen
9 comments
Donald Trump civil fraud trial

In compliance with a court-imposed directive to restrain his commentary outside of legal proceedings, former U.S. President Donald Trump returned to his ongoing civil fraud trial in New York. During Wednesday’s session, his legal team cross-examined an accountant responsible for assembling the financial statements that are central to the case.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump and his business entity artificially inflated his financial worth in statements provided to banks, insurance companies, and other parties.

Donald Bender, the accountant under scrutiny, was called to the witness stand by state attorneys who aimed to demonstrate that Trump and his corporate executives exercised full oversight in the generation of these financial statements. Bender’s earlier testimony revealed that the Trump Organization did not consistently provide all necessary information to complete the financial documents.

Trump has refuted all allegations of misconduct. His defense team persisted in attributing any deficiencies in the financial statements to Bender. During the proceedings, Attorney Jesus M. Suarez indicated that Bender’s accounting firm had informed clients that experts might be required for the evaluation of particular assets like artwork, jewelry, and specific securities in privately-held businesses and real estate. Suarez then presented video footage of prior testimony where Bender stated he could not recall if he had consulted any specialists during the preparation of Trump’s financial statements.

In a prior cross-examination session, Bender admitted to overlooking a modification concerning the size of Trump’s Trump Tower residence. Suarez characterized this oversight as a significant error, arguing that the Trump Organization and its staff were enduring severe difficulties as a consequence. Bender countered, stating that the mistake originated with the Trump Organization, and he had simply failed to detect it.

Trump, currently a leading Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, has voluntarily paused his campaign activities to attend the trial. He was present in court for the third consecutive day on Wednesday.

Judge Arthur Engoron has previously ruled that Trump engaged in fraudulent practices by inflating the value of key assets, including his Trump Tower penthouse. If this ruling survives potential appeals, Trump could lose control over his flagship property and other assets.

Outside the court, Trump used familiar language to label James as “incompetent” and cast the trial as a Democratic plot aimed at undermining his chances in the 2024 election. He described the entire legal process as “a disgrace.”

After Trump openly criticized Engoron’s principal law clerk on social media, the judge instituted a partial gag order, instructing all trial participants to refrain from making personal attacks against court staff. Trump was directed to remove the “disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post,” which he subsequently did.

The bench trial is focused on six remaining charges from the original lawsuit. The court aims to determine the financial penalties that may be imposed on Trump. Attorney General James is seeking $250 million in penalties and a prohibition on Trump conducting business within New York State.

Trump is expected to take the stand later in the trial.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Donald Trump civil fraud trial

What is the main focus of Donald Trump’s ongoing civil fraud trial?

The main focus of the trial is to examine allegations that former U.S. President Donald Trump and his business entity inflated his financial worth in statements provided to banks, insurance companies, and other parties. New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed the lawsuit.

Who is Donald Bender and why is he important to the case?

Donald Bender is an accountant who was responsible for compiling the financial statements that are central to the case. His testimony is considered critical in establishing whether Trump and his company had full control over the preparation of these financial documents.

What allegations are being made by New York Attorney General Letitia James?

Letitia James alleges that Donald Trump and his business artificially inflated his financial worth in statements that were subsequently provided to various financial institutions and insurance companies.

What consequences could Donald Trump face if found guilty?

If found guilty, Donald Trump could face financial penalties, potentially losing control of key assets, including his Trump Tower penthouse. Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in penalties and a prohibition on Trump conducting business within New York State.

Has the court made any preliminary rulings?

Yes, Judge Arthur Engoron has previously ruled that Trump engaged in fraudulent practices by inflating the value of key assets. This ruling, if upheld on appeal, could result in Trump losing control over his flagship property and other assets.

What measures have been taken to control Donald Trump’s commentary outside the courtroom?

A partial gag order has been instituted by Judge Arthur Engoron, instructing all trial participants, including Donald Trump, to refrain from making personal attacks against court staff. This came after Trump criticized Engoron’s principal law clerk on social media.

Is Donald Trump expected to testify?

Yes, Donald Trump is expected to take the stand later in the trial.

How does this trial affect Donald Trump’s political future?

While the trial is not directly related to his political activities, Donald Trump, a leading Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, has voluntarily paused his campaign activities to attend the trial. The outcome could potentially influence his 2024 prospects.

More about Donald Trump civil fraud trial

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9 comments

SteveK October 4, 2023 - 5:20 pm

Isn’t it odd that Trump himself will testify? that’s gonna be something to watch.

Reply
Polly_M October 4, 2023 - 7:42 pm

So what happens if Trump loses control of Trump Tower? Does it get renamed or what? Just curious.

Reply
RebeccaW October 4, 2023 - 8:13 pm

This gag order thing is pretty serious. Never seen a president told to shut up before, at least not like this.

Reply
Alex1992 October 4, 2023 - 10:37 pm

So they’re blaming the accountant now? Classic move I guess. lol

Reply
Sara_T October 5, 2023 - 2:08 am

letitia James is really goin after Trump, huh. wonder how this will affect his 2024 chances.

Reply
MikeJenkins October 5, 2023 - 9:26 am

Whoa, third day already? This is gettin intense. Trump can’t catch a break, can he?

Reply
CryptoFan October 5, 2023 - 9:46 am

250 million in penalties? That’s some serious cash, even for Trump.

Reply
Jameson October 5, 2023 - 10:47 am

Not a fan of either side, but this trial is an absolute circus. Can’t wait for it to be over.

Reply
Lisa_J October 5, 2023 - 2:20 pm

Trump pausing his campaign for this is big. shows you how serious it is, or maybe just how seriously he takes it.

Reply

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