Donald Trump took the stand Monday in his New York business fraud trial and proceeded to say anything and everything to avoid shouldering responsibility.
Trump, who is accused of fraudulently inflating the value of his real estate assets, tried to use a defense that the presiding judge had already dismissed as “worthless.” Trump then decided that a solid option was to seemingly admit involvement in the fraud.
But the clearest demonstration of Trump’s (lack of) strategy came when Kevin Wallace, a lawyer from the New York attorney general’s office, asked him if he had received copies of the Trump Organization’s financial statements in 2021.
“I was so busy in the White House with China, Russia, and keeping the country safe,” Trump said.
“You were not the president in 2021,” Wallace reminded him.
Trump left office in January 2021, despite efforts to stay in power. This is a basic fact that Trump should know.
Instead, he is grasping for any excuse to avoid being held accountable during the trial. Unfortunately for Trump, the trial is really just to set damages. Presiding Judge Arthur Engoron already determined in September that Trump committed fraud. Engoron ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization.
The lawsuit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that Trump claimed his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan was three times its actual size and worth $327 million. No New York City apartment has ever sold for that much. He also valued Mar-a-Lago at $739 million, about 10 times its actual worth.