Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeusJudge scolds witness defending Trump's net worth

Judge scolds witness defending Trump’s net worth

Judge Arthur Engoron scolded Donald Trump‘s ex-chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg for defending the former president’s net worth during his testimony in his business fraud trial on Tuesday.

The $250 million civil trial against Trump resumed Tuesday, with Engoron hearing testimony from Weisselberg, who served as the CFO of the Trump Organization. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, accusing him of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to obtain benefits such as better bank loans and reduced tax bills between 2011 and 2021. The lawsuit is civil, not criminal, meaning that Trump will not face jail time in this case.

Engoron ruled last month that Trump, his adult sons, their businesses and executives committed fraud and will now decide on six other accusations, including falsifying business records, insurance fraud, and conspiracy claims during the trial.

Trump, who remains the frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary, has maintained his innocence in the case, arguing that prosecutors are targeting him for political purposes. He has called for the case to be dismissed, arguing that the judge is biased against him.

During his testimony, Weisselberg was questioned about the square footage of Trump’s New York apartment, reported Law360 journalist Stewart Bishop, who posted live updates from the trial to X, formerly Twitter.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign for comment via email.

Weisselberg was asked about 2017 inquiries from a Forbes reporter related to the size of the apartment. James accused Trump in her lawsuit of claiming his apartment was 30,000 square feet in size, but it is actually closer to 11,000 square feet.

The claim that Trump’s home was significantly smaller than previously stated was reported by Forbes in a 2017 article titled: “Donald Trump Has Been Lying About The Size Of His Penthouse.”

Weisselberg reportedly dodged “question after question” about whether he took action when pressed about the actual size of Trump’s apartment by the Forbes reporter but also acknowledged that they incorrectly stated the size of the apartment, Bishop reported. Weisselberg not answering the questions drew the ire of Engoron.

“You did not answer the question. Please don’t make speeches, just answer the question,” he said.

Weisselberg also echoed Trump’s defense, telling Engoron that “there are many, many ways of valuing assets” when asked how the Trump Organization valued them in 2011, according to Bishop.

Although Trump will not face criminal charges in this case, the outcome could hamper his ability to conduct business in the state of New York. Legal experts have described the ruling as the corporate death penalty, while former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on Sunday said it could be a financial catastrophe for him.

Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded and that the companies that own some of his properties be handed over to independent receivers. However, a New York appeals court halted the cancellation of Trump’s business certificates allowing him to operate in New York last Friday.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular