Trump lawyers go after accountant and appeal major pretrial ruling in New York fraud case

by Chloe Baker
fraud trial

In the ongoing New York civil fraud trial involving former President Donald Trump, his defense attorneys intensified their scrutiny of an accountant responsible for crafting pivotal financial statements central to the case. Simultaneously, Trump’s legal team lodged an appeal against a crucial pretrial ruling alleging that Trump had engaged in fraudulent activities by inflating the values of significant assets, including his prized Trump Tower penthouse.

This civil case, initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accuses Trump and his business of exaggerating his financial worth in documents submitted to banks, insurers, and other entities.

During the trial, accountant Donald Bender took the witness stand, with state attorneys aiming to demonstrate that Trump and individuals within his organization had full control over the preparation of these financial statements. Bender’s testimony earlier indicated that the Trump Organization did not consistently provide all the necessary information to compile these documents.

Trump vehemently denies any wrongdoing, and his defense team continued to question Bender’s role in any inaccuracies within the financial statements. Attorney Jesus M. Suarez highlighted that the accounting firm had informed clients that they might require specialists’ assistance to evaluate certain assets, such as art, jewelry, and specific securities tied to closely held businesses and real estate. Suarez presented pretrial testimony footage in which Bender stated he couldn’t recall consulting with specialists while preparing Trump’s financial statements.

During cross-examination, Bender admitted to missing a change in information concerning the size of Trump’s Trump Tower apartment. Suarez emphasized this as a significant error, suggesting that Trump’s company and employees faced difficulties due to this oversight. Bender, however, attributed this mistake to the Trump Organization, stating that they had failed to catch it.

As the cross-examination proceeded with meticulous inquiries about specific aspects of individual financial statements, Judge Arthur Engoron expressed frustration and urged the defense to streamline their questioning, remarking that the process had become “ridiculous.” The case is being heard without a jury due to state law restrictions on this type of lawsuit.

Trump’s legal team protested that the judge’s instructions were hindering their ability to defend the former president and his real estate holdings. Defense attorney Christopher Kise remarked that he had never encountered such negotiations on questioning as a lawyer.

Despite his active involvement in the 2024 presidential race as the Republican front-runner, Trump voluntarily took a break from campaigning to attend the trial, marking his third day in court. Judge Engoron had previously ruled that Trump engaged in fraud by inflating the values of his assets, potentially jeopardizing Trump’s control over properties, including his signature skyscraper, pending the outcome of the appeal filed by Trump’s lawyers.

Outside the courtroom, Trump, in his characteristic rhetoric, criticized Attorney General Letitia James, portraying her as part of a broader Democratic effort to undermine his 2024 presidential prospects. He labeled the case as “fake” and the trial as “a disgrace,” emphasizing his attendance was to expose what he perceived as corruption to the press.

The trial is focused on six remaining claims within the lawsuit, and its outcome will determine the extent of potential penalties for Trump. Attorney General James seeks $250 million in damages and a prohibition on Trump conducting business in New York.

[Note: This paraphrased text maintains a formal and serious tone while providing a detailed summary of the mentioned news article.]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Trump fraud trial

What is the Trump fraud trial in New York about?

The Trump fraud trial in New York centers on allegations that former President Donald Trump and his business inflated the values of assets, including his Trump Tower penthouse, in financial statements submitted to various institutions.

Who filed the civil case against Trump?

The civil case was filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

What is the role of the accountant, Donald Bender, in the trial?

Accountant Donald Bender is a key witness in the trial. He prepared financial statements that are at the core of the case, and state lawyers are trying to establish that Trump and his company had control over the information in these statements.

What is the pretrial ruling that Trump’s lawyers are appealing?

Trump’s legal team is appealing a significant pretrial ruling that concluded Trump engaged in fraud by inflating the values of his assets. This ruling could potentially impact Trump’s control over his properties, pending the outcome of the appeal.

How does Trump respond to these allegations?

Donald Trump denies any wrongdoing and continues to maintain his innocence throughout the trial.

What penalties are being sought in this case?

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in damages and a ban on Trump conducting business in New York as part of the legal proceedings.

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SeriousTalks October 4, 2023 - 11:40 pm

NY AG go after ex prez hard, fake? we’ll see!

Reader123 October 5, 2023 - 7:56 am

trump case is so mess, lawyr complain, but who rly wrong?

LegalEagle October 5, 2023 - 10:25 am

Judge Engoron strict, Trump’s troubles big!


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