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  • Trump's million dollar expert 'lost all credibility,' judge in NY civil fraud trial says


    Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump's rally in Durham

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - An expert witness paid nearly $1 million by Donald Trump to testify at his New York civil fraud trial "lost all credibility" by "doggedly" justifying the former U.S. president's business records, the judge overseeing the case said on Monday.

    Eli Bartov, a New York University accounting professor, testified on Dec. 7 that he did not see any evidence of fraud in Trump's family real estate company's financial statements, which New York state's attorney general alleges overstated property values in order to win favorable loan and insurance terms.

    Bartov testified he spent 650 hours on the case at a rate of $1,350 per hour, meaning his compensation totaled around $877,500. Bartov said his invoices were paid both by the Trump Organization and by Save America, a political action committee supporting Trump's 2024 election campaign.

    "All that his testimony proves is that for a million or so dollars, some experts will say whatever you want them to say," Justice Arthur Engoron wrote in a scathing denial of several requests by Trump for the case to be decided in his favor.

    "By doggedly attempting to justify every misstatement, Professor Bartov lost all credibility," Engoron wrote.


    In an email, Bartov said Engoron was wrong to say the "overarching point" of his testimony was that Trump's statements were "accurate in every respect." He pointed to his testimony that Trump's statements contained inadvertent errors.

    "No expert rebutted my testimony or testified that they found fraud," Bartov said. "As to his speculation that my billing rate had anything to do with my opinion, this is my standard billing rate."

    Trump's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The trial has focused mostly on damages, as Engoron ruled before it started in early October that Trump and his adult sons manipulated financial statements to dupe banks and insurers.

    New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is seeking $250 million in penalties and wants Trump banned from the New York state real estate business.

    Trump, the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has denied wrongdoing and called the case politically motivated.

    In his three-page written ruling, Engoron acknowledged the defense's argument that property valuations are subjective and that inaccurate information in financial statements must be "material" to break the law. But he said Trump's statements were "replete with examples of material misstatements."

    "A lie is still a lie," Engoron wrote.

    Closing arguments in the trial are set for Jan. 11.

    Trump separately faces four state and federal criminal indictments, including two over charges he sought to overturn his loss to Democratic President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
    ________
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

    Comment


    • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
      [SIZE=18px]This is the sixth time in nearly three months of trial that Trump's team has asked for a directed verdict.
      6th time's a charm, huh?!
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain

      Comment


      • Trump's million dollar expert 'lost all credibility,' judge in NY civil fraud trial says

        Hope he got paid in advance!!!
        “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
        Mark Twain

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
          "Bartov said his invoices were paid both by the Trump Organization and by Save America, a political action committee supporting Trump's 2024 election campaign."

          He'll probably get at least some of it, seeing as how Trump isn't on the hook for the entire amount. That's what he's got his gullible cult for lol.
          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

          Comment


          • Trump Misidentifies Reporter As Judge's Son In Latest Courtroom Conspiracy

            Former President Donald Trump is repeatedly shooting blanks in his attempts to discredit a New York City judge overseeing his civil fraud trial. This time, he targeted the wrong person on social media ― for at least the second time this month.

            A court reporter on Tuesday identified himself as the individual who is falsely pegged on Trump’s Truth Social account as the lawyer son of Judge Arthur Engoron. The judge, his clerk and other courthouse staff have received death threats and abusive messages in the wake of being personally identified in Trump’s incendiary posts about the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

            A social media post shared by Trump at least twice as of Wednesday claims a bearded man pictured sitting in the courtroom is Engoron’s son. It alleges that he’s likely “financially benefiting” from Trump’s trial and has been given a “prominent” seat and “preferential access.”

            “I thought it was worth setting the record straight,” New York Post reporter Ben Kochman wrote in an opinion piece in which he identified himself as the bearded man in the post. The original post was from far-right activist and conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer.

            It’s not clear how Loomer concluded Kochman is the judge’s son, though it appears that it may be because both men have beards. Last month she shared a photo of a different bearded man attending a courthouse protest and similarly suggested it was the judge’s son siding with James.

            Trump shared the post on Tuesday along with comments from George Santos, the expelled Republican congressman and serial liar, who proclaimed Loomer’s findings to be “significant” and worthy of an investigation by the House Oversight Committee. Santos said he flagged Loomer’s findings to his former colleagues but, according to Loomer, his efforts were rejected.



            The social media post circulated by former President Donald Trump suggested that a court reporter, who was pictured attending Trump's court hearing in New York last month, was the judge's son and “financially benefiting” from Trump’s trial.

            Kochman’s photo remained on Trump’s, Loomer’s and Santos’ social media accounts as of Wednesday. Representatives of Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the misidentification.

            In addition to recirculating the reporter’s photo, Trump on Tuesday also shared previously debunked claims that Engoron’s wife, Dawn Engoron, has posted critically of Trump on social media throughout his trial.

            Trump on Tuesday shared screen grabs from an article that baselessly accused the judge’s wife of sharing “anti-Trump memes” under a single-deleted account attributed to a “Dawn Marie.” The article cites Loomer as the single source of this claim.

            Engoron’s wife told Newsweek that she denied making any such posts. A state spokesperson for New York’s Office of Court Administration also confirmed to The Messenger that she did not author those posts.

            Trump is currently under a gag order after posting false allegations about people involved in his trial.

            In October, he was formally barred from publicly criticizing Engoron’s staff after he shared a post that falsely accused one of the judge’s staffers of being in a romantic relationship with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

            Engoron said the erroneous post resulted in his office receiving a barrage of threats from Trump supporters.

            “In this current overheated political climate, incendiary untruths can, and in some cases already have, led to serious physical harm, and worse,” Engoron told Trump’s legal team, according to the New York Post. The court fined the former president for failing to remove the false claim from his social media page.

            Trump lost his attempt to appeal the gag order last week.
            __________

            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

            Comment


            • New York AG asks judge to fine Trump $370M and bar him for life from NY real estate industry

              New York Attorney General Letitia James, in a written brief filed a week before closing arguments in her civil fraud trial against former President Donald Trump, has asked the judge in the case to fine Trump over $370 million to disgorge profits from what James says is a decade of fraudulent business conduct.

              James also requested that Trump and his two former deputies at the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, be barred for life from participating in the New York real estate industry.

              Trump, his sons Eric Trump and and Donald Trump Jr., and other top Trump Organization executives are accused by James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they inflated Trump's net worth on this statements of financial condition in order get more favorable loan terms.

              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.

              Two sides submitted written briefs Friday, ahead of closing arguments scheduled for Jan. 11.

              Arguing that "virtually every action they took in preparing those [statements of financial condition] was part of a fraudulent scheme," James said the only way to prevent future fraud was to bar Trump from New York's real estate industry for life. James also alleged that the Trump Organization under Eric and Donald Trump Jr. lacks "lacks effective leadership" and should be placed into court-appointment monitorship for at least five years to ensure it no longer violates the law.

              The request for a $370 million fine, plus 9% annual interest, is a sharp increase from James' initial request for disgorgement totaling roughly $250 million. In Friday's filing, she justified the increase by arguing that Trump, his sons, and his top deputies knowingly engaged in the fraud and personally benefited from it.

              The largest portion of the requested fine stems from the business loans the Trump Organization obtained using allegedly fraudulent financial statements. Based on expert testimony, James argued that Trump cost his lenders $168,040,168, which the banks would have made if Trump was given the appropriate interest rate corresponding to the actual value of his assets.

              James also argued that the Trump Organization used fraudulent documents to win their bid to renovate and operate a hotel in the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C., which netted a profit of $139,408,146 from its sale. Donald Trump personally profited $126,828,600 from the deal, and his sons made $4,013,024 each.

              The profits from the sale of Trump's Ferry Point golf course in New York also netted the company roughly $60 million in profit.

              James argued that Weisselberg and McConney each profited from these deals through their generous severance agreements, which the Trump Organization used to control their former executives through multiple investigations.

              "After these illegal acts came to light, Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. allowed Weisselberg and McConney to remain on the payroll and rewarded them with lucrative severance packages that restricted their ability to cooperate with law enforcement investigations, rather than immediately terminating their employment," James wrote.

              Trump attorney Alina Habba, responding to James' filing late Friday, said in a statement, "It's absurd and can be described as nothing less than a form of politically motivated persecution of the leading Republican presidential candidate."

              In their defense filing, Trump's lawyers said the attorney general's theory for disgorgement was "fundamentally flawed." No lenders testified that they would have done anything differently had they known about Trump's misstatements, and James attempted to fill that evidentiary void with expert testimony, according to Trump's lawyers.

              Trump's lawyers added that even if the attorney general proved that some of Trump's profits were ill-gotten, they lack the authority under New York Executive Law 63(12) to request the disgorgement.

              "The Court is simply not free to accept the invitation of the NYAG to ignore the actual facts, the unrebutted evidence, and the testimony of the actual transaction participants," Trump's lawyers wrote.

              Trump's defense team added that in the 11 weeks of the trial, "The NYAG introduced no evidence that anyone relied on any alleged misrepresentation and/or that anyone was injured."

              The attorney general's office, in their brief, said that "The conclusion that defendants intended to defraud when preparing and certifying Trump's statements of financial condition is inescapable; the myriad deceptive schemes they employed to inflate asset values and conceal facts were so outrageous that they belie innocent explanation."

              The dueling arguments will be presented in court on Jan. 11 when the two sides deliver closing statements before Judge Arthur Engoron, who has already found Trump, his eldest sons, and his namesake family real estate business liable for repeated and persistent business fraud.

              The defense argues that the state's case is vague and has failed to prove any wrongdoing by the former president.

              "There is no specificity in the record as to which Defendants, if any, are responsible for which conduct," the defense filing said. "There is no clear and convincing evidence (or any evidence) that President Trump intentionally filed a misleading SFC," referring to statements of financial condition the Trump Organization submitted to banks and insurance companies.

              The state insisted it presented "direct evidence from multiple witnesses" establishing that Trump had a desired target net worth each year prior to assuming public office in 2017, "which his CFO and Controller then dutifully set out to hit by reverse-engineering the asset values in the SFC, a practice that continued under the leadership of Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr.," their filing stated.

              The closing briefs and arguments will guide Judge Engoron as he decides the remaining six causes of action against Trump and what, if any, financial penalty to impose.

              The most recent opinion Engoron issued in the trial, on Dec. 18, denied Trump's final request to throw out the case and signaled the judge's skepticism about his defense team's arguments, describing Trump's claims as "bogus statements at best and fraud at worst."
              ________
              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

              Comment


              • Trump’s tale of business genius could meet sorry end in New York fraud trial


                Two decades ago, when Donald Trump introduced himself to the American public from the back of a limousine going through New York City, he told a simple story of triumph disguised as a confession.

                “About 13 years ago, I was seriously in trouble. I was billions of dollars in debt,” he said in the opening scene of his reality TV show, The Apprentice, which premiered in January 2004. “But I fought back, and I won – big league.”

                Related: Trump is ‘toast’ in New York fraud trial, says former Watergate prosecutor

                The show offered Americans an opportunity to see Trump as he saw himself: a successful real estate mogul with towering skyscrapers, vast golf courses and the gusto needed to broker a good deal. A man who found redemption through hard work, an epitome of the American dream topped with a strawberry blond quiff.

                Twenty years later, Trump’s real estate empire is facing peril. For 11 weeks, the inner workings of his company have been discussed at a New York fraud trial. A judge has already decided Trump committed fraud. He will rule on punishment later this year.

                Trump’s companies could lose their New York licenses, making it nearly impossible for him to run his real estate business. He is also facing a vast fine – state lawyers made the case for a $370m penalty on Friday – which could force the company to sell off its properties.

                At this point, prosecutors and Trump’s defense team have rested their cases. Closing arguments are set to take place on Thursday.

                The last three months offered Trump and his lawyers their chance to defend Trump in court against accusations that he purposely exaggerated his net worth on government documents. Instead, they worked to uphold the shimmering portrait Trump has painted of himself for the last 40 years. The story that gave Trump celebrity and, ultimately, the White House could lead to the downfall of his company.

                Deja vu in court
                A scathing pre-trial summary judgment made the trial an uphill battle for Trump’s team. Issued on 26 September, less than a week before the trial started, the ruling said documents submitted by prosecutors showed Trump had committed fraud. The ruling is currently under review by an appellate court, but if upheld, Trump will lose his business licenses, severely curtailing his real estate business in New York.

                The ruling was supposed to dramatically narrow what the trial should cover. Instead, Trump and his team relied on many of the arguments judge Arthur Engoron had already struck down in his ruling.

                If figures on government documents were wrong, Trump’s lawyers argued, it was the fault of Mazars USA, the Trump Organization’s former accounting firm.

                “Every decision I made was based on all the information that I would have gotten from Mazars,” Donald Trump Jr, a defendant in the case, said during his testimony.

                When asked whether it was the Trump Organization’s or Mazars’ duty to ensure the documents were accurate, Trump emphasized that the firm “got paid a lot of money to do this work”.

                But in his pre-trial ruling, Engoron noted that Mazars had disclaimers on the statements that said Trump was responsible for “fair representation” in the financial statement.

                “The Mazars disclaimers put the onus for accuracy squarely on the defendants’ shoulders,” Engoron wrote.

                Inside and outside the courtroom, Trump also tried to argue the merit of the “worthless clause”, a disclaimer on the financial documents that he argues signals to lenders that the estimations on the financial documents are “worthless”.

                Again, in his pre-trial ruling, Engoron had deemed the worthless clause argument moot.

                “The ‘worthless clause’ does not say what defendants say it says, does not rise to the level of an enforceable disclaimer and cannot be used to insulate fraud,” Engoron wrote.

                Will Thomas, a professor of business law at the University of Michigan, said that Trump’s team seemed to largely offer arguments that were “about whether the court got its summary judgment wrong”.

                “It’s not that they’re entirely irrelevant, but I don’t suspect that any of that stuff really meaningfully moved the needle” for Trump, he said.

                What also didn’t help Trump is the seeming evasiveness he and other Trump Organization executives, including his two adults sons, showed on the stand when faced with documents that implied they were aware that their valuations were inflated.

                Thomas noted that Engoron will have a lot of leeway in interpreting evasiveness on the stand. If Trump appeals, the appellate court “can review legal statutes, judicial opinions – they can assess whether the trial court got the law right”, he said.

                “But they’re not in the courtroom. They can’t judge all those intangibles that go with live testimony. So the standards of review make it really hard to overturn factual determinations, particularly when it comes to something like ‘Which witnesses do I give credence to?’,” Thomas said.

                ‘A fantasy world’
                One of the more critical points Engoron made in his pre-trial ruling outlined what he called Trump’s “fantasy world”, which he said relied on “bogus arguments”.

                “In defendants’ world: rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air … and square footage [is] subjective,” he wrote. “That is a fantasy world, not the real world.”

                Here, Engoron essentially peeled away the argument that real estate valuation is an “art”, free from laws and restrictions.

                But Trump and his team continued to defend the idea that Trump was in his rights to determine the value of his properties. On the stand, he insisted that Mar-a-Lago was worth at least $1bn, though Palm Beach valued the property at between $18m and $27m.

                Trump and his family were dismissive about the role legal restrictions played in valuations. For example, Mar-a-Lago’s deed says that Trump will not turn the club into a private residence. Trump said that turning his office building at 40 Wall Street into condominium units was an “absolutely perfect use for that building” though Trump had given up rights to turn it into a condominium in the building’s ground lease agreement.

                Trump and his lawyers argued that the former president could just look at a building and decide its worth. “All you have to do is look at a picture of the building and say, ‘That building’,” Trump said while on the witness stand in early November, talking about the Trump office building at 40 Wall Street. “You just look at it and you say: ‘That’s worth a lot more than $550m.’”

                Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer and author of The Truth About Trump, said that Trump’s success in business has always been a central element of his identity, even if he knows it’s based on exaggerations.

                “A salesman has to love his product in order to sell it, and he’s committed to that principle,” D’Antonio said. “He assumed that finance and business were rigged games, so he assumes politics is a rigged game. This belief justified doing anything.”

                Trump has always surrounded himself with people who will uphold the ideals he sets out for himself. In this trial, Trump’s lawyers were always ready to indulge the president with compliments while defending him, reassuring him of his wealth and power.

                Christopher Kise, Trump’s lead attorney, said in opening arguments that Trump “has made billions of dollars building one of the most successful real estate empires in the world”. Alina Habba, another Trump lawyer, echoed Trump’s claim that Mar-a-Lago was worth at least $1bn.

                “I assure you that there is a person out there that would buy that property, that spectacular property, for way over a billion dollars,” she said in her opening statement. “That is not fraud, that is real estate.”

                Who makes the final judgment?
                Rather than seek vindication from the court, Trump and his defense team often seemed more interested in appealing to another audience: the millions of viewers who watched The Apprentice and saw a wealthy businessman fly over Manhattan in a helicopter emblazoned with his name. The ones who believe his story.

                Throughout the trial, Trump seemed uninterested in convincing Engoron of his innocence and took on a strategy of provocation, blasting Engoron and the New York attorney general, Letitia James, on social media, calling the trial a “witch-hunt” and denouncing the judge even while on the stand.

                “How do you rule against somebody and call them a fraud, as the president of the United States, who did a great job,” said an enraged Trump during his testimony. “It’s a terrible thing you did. You knew nothing about me.”

                It’s the bravado that helped Trump gain millions of viewers on his reality TV show, back in the days when he was most associated with the phrase “you’re fired”.

                Trump seems to be betting that amping up his story will help rile up his supporters for the 2024 election, though it scores him no legal points. In the end, how voters judge him may be more important for Trump. His strategy is working – Trump is leading in Republican polls in a field of former allies and followers.

                But the courts are following Trump closely. Besides the potential decimation of his real estate company, Trump faces the possibility of prison time with future criminal cases that are set to go to trial. If his New York fraud trial has been any indication so far, the story that raised him to fame can only do so much to save him.
                __________

                One of the most shocking moments for me about Trump and the power of Cult45 was when a former friend bragged on Trump being a "successful businessman".

                You could've knocked me over with a feather. We're not talking about some high school dropout yokel from the sticks with a jacked-up 4x4, complete with truck nuts dangling off the back.

                This was a man of immense intelligence, a world-traveler, a former U.S. military intelligence officer.

                And yet he'd guzzled that Cult45 Kool-Aid like it was water.
                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                Comment


                • Velveeta Voldemort was a successful businessman if you mean welching on your debts and being able to repeatedly declare bankruptcy over the years.

                  It was all a Potemkin Village.
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • Bomb threat at Judge Arthur Engoron's home believed to be intended to delay closing argument: report


                    Police rushed to New York Judge Arthur Engoron’s home after a bomb threat on Thursday — hours before closing arguments in former President Donald Trump’s fraud trial were set to begin.

                    More than a half-dozen police cars and a bomb squad rushed to Engoron’s home on Long Island Thursday morning, according to The Daily Beast. The move was “perceived as a blatant attempt to delay the trial’s closing arguments,” the outlet added, citing a person briefed on the matter.

                    A spokesperson for the Nassau County Police Department told the outlet that there is an “active investigation” but did not provide any further details.

                    It’s not clear whether the threat would delay Thursday’s proceedings, The New York Times reported.

                    The threat came after Trump, who has repeatedly attacked Engoron and his principal law clerk Allison Greenfield, lashed out at the judge ahead of Thursday’s hearing, accusing him on Truth Social of “working closely together” with New York Attorney General Letitia James to “screw me.”

                    Trump’s complaints came after emails released by the court showed that Engoron rejected Trump’s plan to give his own closing argument after he balked at the judge’s preconditions. The judge initially approved the plan but reversed course after Trump’s lawyers objected to his insistence that the former president stick to “relevant” matters and “not deliver a campaign speech.”

                    Emails show Trump’s attorney Chris Kise complained that the restrictions were “very unfair” and “fraught with ambiguities, creating the substantial likelihood for misinterpretation or unintended violation.”

                    “You are not allowing President Trump, who has been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated attorney general, to speak about the things that must be spoken about,” the attorney wrote.

                    “I won’t debate this yet again. Take it or leave it,” Engoron replied in all-caps.

                    Trump shared the email on Truth Social, calling it “MEAN & NASTY.”

                    The bomb threat at Engoron’s home came just days after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump’s D.C. election subversion case, was the victim of an apparent “swatting” call after someone called police to falsely report that “multiple people were shot” at her home.

                    “As long as the GOP continues to pander to Trump we remain on this path of domestic terror, heading into political violence,” warned former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. “Every reporter who talks to Trump must ask & insist on an answer to whether he condemns this & same for every Republican who doesn't voluntarily speak out.”

                    Former Manhattan prosecutor Karen Agnifilo called on Trump to “please tell” his supporters to “stop the violence.”

                    “Enough is enough,” she tweeted.

                    Trump is expected to attend Thursday’s closing arguments despite being barred from speaking. James’ team is expected to highlight evidence from the trial, including internal emails and testimony from former employees. James is seeking a $370 million fine against Trump and his companies, a lifetime ban on Trump and two of his former executives from the real estate industry, and five-year bans on Trump sons Donald Jr. and Eric.

                    Engoron issued a summary judgment before the trial began, holding Trump, his company and former executives liable for persistent fraud.

                    Trump’s lawyers plan to argue that James failed to show that Trump orchestrated fraud in his annual financial statements and that the statements themselves were irrelevant, according to The Times.

                    “No bank or underwriter was, or would have been, materially misled by the alleged misstatements,” Trump’s lawyers argued in a brief.
                    ________

                    I bet it was Ray Epps....
                    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                    Comment


                    • Trump gets his way in closing arguments at NY fraud trial, calling himself a 'victim' in surprise remarks
                      • Trump was allowed to make a five-minute statement during closings in the NY fraud trial on Thursday.
                      • He repeatedly called himself a "victim," and said instead of any penalties, 'they should pay me."
                      • "It's a great company," he said of Trump Org, "with some of the greatest assets in the world."

                      In a surprise turn of events in his New York civil fraud trial, Donald Trump was allowed to make a five-minute closing statement, time he used to repeatedly call himself a victim, accuse the state of pursuing a "witch hunt," and extoll the Trump Organization as "a great company."

                      "I'm an innocent man," the former president insisted, directly addressing the judge from his seat at the defense table.

                      "I've been persecuted by somebody running for office," he added, in a reference to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who ran for office in 2018 promising to hold Trump and his Manhattan-headquartered real-estate empire accountable for fraud.

                      Just the day before, the judge, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, had denied Trump's request to deliver a statement on his own behalf in the AG's $370 million fraud lawsuit against him, his company, and his two eldest sons.

                      The judge had blamed Trump's failure to agree to limit his remarks, and not turn his statement into a campaign speech or personal attack on the court or the AG.

                      But five minutes before the 1 p.m. lunch break, Trump's lawyer, Christopher Kise, asked again for permission for his client to address the judge.

                      "I think all the people out there want to hear from him," Kise said.

                      "Well," the judge responded, sounding surprised. "This is not how it should have been done."

                      The judge then turned to Trump himself.

                      "Mr. Trump," Engoron began. "If I let you speak for five minutes, do you promise to comment on just the law and the facts," and not "outside" the bounds of what's allowed in closing statements.

                      Still seated, Trump leaned into the microphone before him. "Well, I think that this case goes outside," he began.

                      "There was no witnesses against us," he complained.

                      "The banks were happy as can be," he said. "They weren't defrauded. There wasn't one witness" who complained of being defrauded in the three-month trial, he added.

                      "This was a political witch hunt," he said. "We should receive damages for what they've taken this company through."

                      Trump spent one precious minute, out of his allotment of five, defending himself against a tiny corner of the case against him, in which the AG alleges he intentionally lied about the size of his triplex penthouse apartment atop Trump Tower.

                      "They do have a triplex, where they made a mistake and it was corrected, and it was de minimus," he said of the AG's finding that Trump tripled the size of the apartment in net-worth statements.

                      The judge has called the exaggeration intentional. But in speaking to the judge Thursday, Trump called it "a mistake that was corrected."

                      "I'm not sure what the number would have been," had it been correct, he said of the apartment's worth. But it would have been close to his estimate, he claimed.

                      Trump valued the unit at $327 million based on it being 30,000-square foot, trial evidence showed. It is actually 10,996.39 square feet.

                      "I'm an innocent man," Trump next protested. "I've been persecuted by somebody running for office," he said of James.

                      "This statute is vicious," he said. "It doesn't give you a jury it takes away all your rights and it is in fact a statute used for consumer fraud," he said of the state executive law the AG sued him under.

                      "There was a fraud on me," Trump complained.

                      The former president then went on to describe having "overpaid" his taxes by "close to $300 million," and to complain of New York, "they don't want me here. They don't want me any more," despite his having built things "all over the city."

                      "The person in the room right now hates Trump, and uses Trump to get elected," he said, apparently referring again to James.

                      "I t's a very big part of the case. I would say it's 100 percent," he said. "They found nothing and now she comes in and she says, 'We want to make the $250 million fine $370 million. For what?" he said, referring to the state's upward adjustment in proposed penalties.

                      The state's original lawsuit had sought $250 million from Trump and his defendants.

                      At this point, it was 1 p.m. The judge held up his phone, warning Trump that his time was up.

                      "You have your own agenda," Trump told the judge. "I certainly understand that. You can't listen for more than one minute."

                      "Mr. Kise," the judge told Trump's lawyer. "Please control your client."

                      But Trump kept speaking. "This is a suit, it seems I should have won many times," he said.

                      "Your honor, I've done nothing wrong. They should pay me for what we've had to go through," he repeated.

                      "It's a great company," he said of the Trump Organization. "It's a liquid company," he added. "With some of the greatest assets in the world."

                      Here, the judge held up his hand, and brought Trump's remarks to a close.

                      "This should have been done differently," he told the former president. "You would have had a lot more time.

                      "Thank you Mr. Trump," he added. "See you all at 2:15."

                      Closing arguments by two lawyers for the attorney general's office are scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
                      __________
                      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                      Comment


                      • Bigly energy!

                        Heard this on NPR and I could only shake my head.

                        Here's your big hero, MAGAotts!!! How alpha does he look now!!!!
                        “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                        Mark Twain

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                          Bigly energy!

                          Heard this on NPR and I could only shake my head.

                          Here's your big hero, MAGAotts!!! How alpha does he look now!!!!
                          More like a narcissistic man-baby that's about to have his toys taken away.
                          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                          Comment


                          • Trump’s Court-Appointed Monitor Tells Judge Company Gave ‘Incomplete’ and ‘Inconsistent’ Disclosures With ‘Errors’
                            Court monitor Barbara Jones sent her letter to Justice Engoron, who will determine whether to ban Trump from New York real estate for life

                            The court-appointed monitor overseeing Donald Trump's businesses told a judge on Friday that the former president's financial information has contained "incomplete" or "inconsistent" disclosures containing "errors."

                            "I have identified certain deficiencies in the financial information that I have reviewed, including disclosures that are either incomplete, present results inconsistently, and/or contain errors," former federal judge Barbara Jones, tasked with scrutinizing the former president's business empire, wrote in a 12-page letter.

                            Though she described Trump and his businesses as "cooperative" with her investigation, Jones added that "information required to be submitted to me pursuant to the terms of the monitorship order and review protocol has, at times, been lacking in completeness and timeliness."

                            The judge sent her update to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who appointed her as a monitor in November 2022.

                            That was after New York State Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, three of his adult children, and two of his business associates, alleging that they falsely inflated the former president's assets by billions over the course of a decade. Last September, Engoron issued a ruling dissolving Trump's New York business empire for "persistent" fraud.

                            The attorney general's office claims that Trump's alleged intransigence, even after a monitor was in place, justifies even heavier punishments — like a roughly $370 million fine and a lifetime ban from New York's real estate industry.

                            Jones, who also served as a monitor in Rudy Giuliani and Michael Cohen's criminal investigations, said that the Trump Organization has "implemented changes" under her monitorship, but it needs to shape up even more.

                            "Absent steps to address the items above, my observations suggest misstatements and errors may continue to occur, which could result in incorrect or inaccurate reporting of financial information to third parties," she said.

                            But Jones declined to weigh in on whether the issues she observed amounted to fraud.

                            "In addition, while I am to receive advance notice of restructuring or sales, my appointment does not require or permit advanced approval of the Trump
                            Organization's preparation or submission of financial information to third parties," the letter states. "Thus, I am not in a position to conclude whether fraudulent activity occurred."


                            At a hearing earlier this month, Engoron announced that he plans to rule on the requests before the end of the month.
                            ________

                            Probably just sheer "muscle memory" on the part of Trump's fraud...er, financial department.

                            You can't expect an organization to just instantly straighten up and fly right after half a century of organized criminality.
                            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                            Comment


                            • Trump lashes out at financial monitor in business fraud case after she reports errors
                              • Donald Trump lashed out at the financial monitor overseeing the Trump Organization and urged a judge to end the watchdog’s oversight of his company.
                              • The request came days after she reported a range of issues — including an allegedly errant $48 million loan — in the former president’s New York civil business fraud case.
                              • Barbara Jones’ report came days before Judge Arthur Engoron was expected to deliver a verdict in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case.
                              • James accuses Trump, his two adult sons, his company and its top executives of fraudulently inflating Trump’s asset values to boost his net worth and obtain financial perks.

                              Donald Trump at the courthouse in Lower Manhattan, New York on October 17, 2023.

                              Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at the financial monitor overseeing the Trump Organization and urged a judge to fire her days after she reported a range of issues — and flagged a questionable $48 million loan — in the former president’s New York civil business fraud case.

                              The independent monitor, Barbara Jones, “desperately seeks to justify the continued receipt of millions of dollars in fees going forward,” an attorney for Trump wrote in a letter to Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron.

                              The attorney, Clifford Robert, said Jones has collected over $2.6 million in 14 months on the job. New York Attorney General Letitia James has asked Engoron to order that Jones continue to monitor the Trump Organization for at least five years as part of his judgment in the case.

                              But Robert wrote that Jones’ findings “simply do not support or provide any evidentiary basis for continued oversight.”

                              Robert made that argument three days after Jones submitted a report to Engoron accusing the Trump Organization of providing incomplete, inconsistent or incorrect information about its financial disclosures.

                              In a footnote in that report, Jones said that she identified a loan between Trump himself and an entity related to Trump Chicago Tower that later turned out not to exist.

                              She was told that the loan was believed to total $48 million, but that there are no agreements memorializing it.

                              “However, in recent discussions with the Trump Organization, it indicated that it has determined that this loan never existed” and that it would be removed from subsequent forms, Jones wrote.

                              Robert called that “a demonstrable falsehood” in his letter Monday.

                              “The Trump entities of course never said the loan did not exist,” he wrote. “Rather, they provided a copy of an internal memorandum reflecting simply that ‘no liabilities or obligations are outstanding’ under the loan at that time.”

                              “The Monitor’s deliberate mischaracterization casts further doubt on her competency and veracity” and “simply fails to support continued oversight,” he added.

                              Jones did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Robert’s letter.

                              Jones’ report came days before Engoron was expected to deliver a verdict in James’ case accusing Trump, his two adult sons, his company and its top executives of fraudulently inflating Trump’s asset values to boost his net worth and obtain financial perks.

                              James seeks to ban Trump for life from participating in New York’s real estate industry or serving as an officer or director of a business in the state. She also seeks five-year bans with the same conditions for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who took over the Trump Organization after their father became president in 2017. The attorney general also seeks more than $370 million in penalties.

                              Jones, a retired federal judge who has been involved in multiple Trump-related legal proceedings, was selected in November 2022 by both Trump and James as their top pick to serve as the independent monitor in the civil fraud case.

                              But Robert lashed out at Jones in Monday’s letter, accusing her of issuing her latest report to ensure she continues to “receive exorbitant fees,” paid for by Trump and his co-defendants.

                              Robert also accused the monitor’s report of containing errors that cast doubt on her competency, and of being “misleading and disingenuous.”

                              Jones’ “bad faith” effort “rehashes long-resolved issues,” Robert wrote, accusing the monitor of being “unabashedly self-serving” in reporting that the Trump Organization could continue to make errors that result in sending inaccurate financial information to third parties.

                              “Further oversight is unwarranted and will only unjustly enrich the Monitor as she engages in some ‘Javert’ like quest against the Defendants,” Robert wrote, referring to the misguided legal enforcer from the musical “Les Miserables.”

                              Trump’s attorney Christopher Kise in a statement called Jones’ report “truly a joke.” He characterized her overall findings as merely a handful of unimportant clerical errors and inconsistencies.

                              “Indeed, it is shocking that President Trump has been forced to pay millions for a Monitor to prove what he has said from the outset, namely, there is no financial reporting misconduct, no fraud and simply no basis for this abusive process to continue,” Kise wrote.

                              A spokeswoman for James called that statement “patently false,” referring to the issues Jones found, including $40 million in cash transfers that were previously undisclosed to her, as is required.

                              Engoron has said he will try to deliver a decision in the case by Wednesday, while noting that there is no guarantee on when he will issue a verdict.

                              The judge had ruled before the two-month trial even began that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for fraudulently misstating the values of various assets on key financial forms. The trial was conducted to determine damages and resolve other claims of wrongdoing in James’ lawsuit.
                              ___________

                              An unreported $40 million in cash? What's the big deal?
                              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                              Comment



                              • “Stunning”: Experts think Trump CFO perjury caused judge to “slam the brakes” on fraud trial ruling


                                Allen Weisselberg, the former longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is negotiating a deal with Manhattan prosecutors to plead guilty to perjury, according to The New York Times.

                                The deal would require Weisselberg to admit that he lied while testifying at Trump’s recent civil fraud trial and in an earlier interview with the New York attorney general’s office, sources told the outlet.

                                The reported deal comes after a long pressure campaign by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose team sought Weisselberg’s cooperation in several investigations into Trump’s business and alleged election crimes. Trump is scheduled for trial in Manhattan in March in the 2016 hush-money case.

                                The deal likely would not require Weisselberg to “turn on his former boss,” according to the report. Prosecutors are not expected to call him as a witness in the hush-money case and the investigation into Trump’s finances “may no longer be a priority for prosecutors,” the Times reported.

                                The potential deal is likely to strengthen Bragg’s hand, the report added, because it could deter other witnesses from lying on the witness stand. And it could discredit Weisselberg, who has disputed prosecutors’ evidence relating to the hush-money case.

                                Weisselberg previously pleaded guilty to a yearslong tax fraud scheme and spent about 100 days in jail on Rikers Island.

                                Bragg’s office threatened to bring additional charges against the longtime accountant. If the two sides don’t reach a deal, Weisselberg could be indicted, the report said.

                                It’s unclear whether Weisselberg would plead guilty to a felony or misdemeanor or what his sentence could be. It’s also unclear which statement brought about the perjury allegation, though reports accused Weisselberg of lying under oath about Trump’s Trump Tower triplex apartment, which is 10,996 square feet but was listed for years on financial statements as 30,000 square feet.

                                Weisselberg testified that he “never focused” on the unit but a Forbes article showed that Weisselberg “played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years” of the apartment’s value.

                                Weisselberg was abruptly pulled from the stand after the article was published.

                                The reported deal comes amid a reported delay in the ruling in Trump’s fraud trial. Judge Arthur Engoron is now expected to issue a decision in early to mid-February, a court spokesperson told The Guardian.

                                It’s unclear what prompted the delay, which came after a court-appointed monitor flagged a potentially fake $48 million loan, but some legal experts believe it could be related to the Weisselberg negotiations.

                                “Why has Judge Engoron not issued his decision on the Trump civil fraud? One reason could well be the news that the Trump chief financial officer may be pleading to lying to Judge Engoron in a way to help Trump,” tweeted former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann. “And the Judge is waiting for that to support his decision against DJT. This [would] be another big nail in the Trump civil fraud coffin.”

                                CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, another former federal prosecutor, agreed that the deal may have given Engoron pause.

                                "If I'm in Judge Engoron's position here, and getting ready to issue a big verdict and ruling, and now I've heard this , and we've all heard it, that one of the key witnesses committed perjury in front of me — I slam on the brakes and say, 'I'm not going to rule until I know the specifics of this,'” he said Thursday.

                                "If you're going to issue a ruling and it turns out Weisselberg lied, that's going to harm the Trump Organization when it comes time for the verdict," Honig said, adding that the plea deal and delay are a “problem for Donald Trump because he's going to be on the receiving end of this verdict."


                                Honig also cited a report that Weisselberg’s $2 million severance package from the Trump Organization “required him not to cooperate with any law enforcement unless he was legally required.”

                                “That was stunning to me,” he said. “I’ve never heard of such a thing! I don’t think that’s enforceable to say you won’t cooperate with law enforcement. I mean, it certainly undermines what prosecutors are trying to do.”

                                Experts say the development is likely to affect Trump’s upcoming Manhattan trial.

                                "It really does send a message to other witnesses in a case. I've been involved in cases where we prosecuted someone for perjury in a grand jury. And you see the other witnesses who are trying to decide just how much they can get away with, take note, so in this case I think it is really important,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance told MSNBC on Thursday.

                                "One thing — it probably serves to keep Allen Weisselberg off of the witness stand as a defense witness for Donald Trump," Vance added. "He has always defied the normal expectations with someone who completes a guilty plea that they will cooperate for prosecutors as part of that deal. He never fully cooperated in any case… Keeping him off the stand and sending out a caution to other witnesses would be important for Alvin Bragg at this point."

                                Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti called the development “very consequential.”

                                “You have to know that Allen Weisselberg is giving Alvin Bragg and his team a heck of a lot,” he told MSNBC. “Realistically, a prosecutor putting a witness up for the prosecution who's pleading guilty to perjury, you know, that's not going to be a very attractive witness… In order for that witness to be worth the time, they've got to be giving up something really important. That's what I think is really the news here."
                                _________

                                Organization of lying liars keeps on lying. Fortunately lying is just a "process" crime, NBD.
                                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                                Comment

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