As Case Nears Conclusion, Trump Set to Give Testimony in New York Civil Trial

In a New York Courtroom on Monday, Former President Donald Trump is expected to be the last witness to take the stand in a civil fraud case filed against him by the New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The lawsuit was filed last year on seven claims related to fraud, with the defense heavily relying on outside experts to refute the accusation of fraud. Despite a pretrial ruling finding Trump liable for fraud, the defense has been presenting its case since Nov. 13. The trial is meant to deal with the penalties he will need to pay, as well as state attorneys proving intent and materiality.

In a move to mount appeal efforts, an appellate court already paused one of the penalties issued by the judge pending appeal, and the Trump legal team has begun an Article 78 proceeding accusing the judge of unlawful behavior.

On Monday, President Trump will take the stand, and if his testimony is anything like his last, he may clash with the judge, claiming the trial is a politically motivated effort to stall his campaign for presidency. In November, President Trump accused the attorney general of having no case.

Several co-defendants have testified for the defense, including Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg detailed a tax scheme he had devised, but stated that it was not something ordered by Trump Organization: “Of course not,” he said when asked if Trump authorized tax fraud.

Jeffrey McConney, a comptroller at Trump Organization, became tearful as he recounted his 35-year career in the company and detailed the pressure he faced due to the prosecution.

Several experts testified that no fraud had occurred, despite the judge’s earlier ruling. Lawrence Moens, a broker for billionaires in Palm Beach, Florida, testified that he would value Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for more than $1 billion.

Trump himself explained that the easement on the property designating it a club is something that could be negotiated, but that he got the better end of the deal in keeping it as a club of one member, where that member could also live on the property.

The last expert for the defense, NYU accounting professor Eli Bartov, told the judge plainly that there was no evidence of fraud and that the attorney general’s complaint had no merit.

The experts’ testimonies raised multiple objections from state attorneys who argued that the judge had already ruled fraud occurred, and the issue was no longer relevant to the trial.

At the time of reporting Michael Washburn contributed to this report.


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