Trump to Testify Again Next Month in Civil Fraud Trial – Following a compelling initial appearance on the witness stand, ex-President Donald Trump intends to testify once more in his civil fraud trial next month, as stated by his legal team on Monday. Scheduled for December 11, this time around, Trump’s own attorneys will initiate the questioning, allowing for a broader exploration of topics compared to the limitations of cross-examination during his previous testimony compelled by the New York attorney general’s office.
Despite these constraints, Trump vehemently criticized the lawsuit, vigorously defending both himself and his business against the allegations made by Attorney General Letitia James. According to her lawsuit, Trump and his company allegedly misled lenders and insurers by presenting financial statements that significantly inflated his asset values and overall net worth.
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“I’m worth billions of dollars more than the financial statements,” Trump insisted on the stand last time. “This is the opposite of fraud. The fraud is her.” Entering its second month, the trial is highlighting the real estate empire that propelled Trump into the public eye and, subsequently, into the realm of politics. Trump contends that the lawsuit from Democrat Letitia James is an attempt to undermine his political campaign.
At the heart of the case are Trump’s 2014-21 annual “statements of financial condition,” which were used to help secure loans and other deals. On Monday, an executive from the Trump Organization testified that the company has ceased generating such statements. The company continues to prepare various audits and other financial reports specific to some of its components, but “there is no roll-up financial statement of the company,” said Mark Hawthorn, the chief operating officer of the Trump Organization’s hotel arm.
He wasn’t asked why the comprehensive reports had ceased but said they are “not required by any lender, currently, or any constituency.” Requests for comments on the issue were directed to spokespersons representing the Trump Organization. Hawthorn, a certified public accountant, has been employed with the company’s Trump Hotels division since 2016.
Parent company Executive Vice President Donald Trump Jr. testified earlier that Hawthorn is functioning as the entire Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, calling him “the finance guy within Trump world now” and saying the CPA “has taken on all those decisional responsibilities.” But Hawthorn said that statement was wrong, that using “the word ‘all’ makes it incorrect.”
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Hawthorn was testifying for the defense, which argues that various companies under the Trump Organization’s umbrella have produced reams of financial documents “that no one had a problem with,” as lawyer Clifford Robert put it. Andrew Amer, the attorney representing James’ office, emphasized that the lawsuit revolves around Trump’s general financial statements, deeming other documents as unrelated.
Trump contends that his wealth was underestimated, not exaggerated, in his financial statements. He argues that the figures included disclaimers noting they were unaudited, and different interpretations about his financial standing are possible. Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing the nonjury trial, previously determined fraud by Trump and others. The ongoing case addresses remaining allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying records.