Donald Trump got caught red-handed during his $250 million New York bank fraud trial on Monday when lawyers for the New York attorney general’s office revealed Trump had long ago signed financial documents with the clear intent that they would be used to curry favor with banks.
After being shown a loan agreement he had signed with Deutsche Bank in 2012, Trump agreed that his faulty financial statements were intended to induce banks to lend money.
While it might not sound like much, the admission is key to the New York attorney general’s case, which hopes to prove that Trump deceived banks and insurers by massively overvaluing his net worth. Trump essentially admitted on the stand that these financial documents were produced with the express intent to induce lending. The Trump Organization was likely able to secure loans at far lower interest rates due to all the overinflated valuations.
Hours before, Trump had thrown the responsibility of the financial statements onto his accountants while simultaneously claiming he could have conjured any number he desired for the net worth assessment.
“I’d like to go back to the statement of financial condition, it says Donald J. Trump was responsible for designing and implementing internal controls relative to the presentation of these statements. What did you do on this?” asked lawyers for the attorney general’s office.
“Accountants,” Trump said, according to Inner City Press. “They charged me a lot of money for this, a lot of money. I could have just put a number down. But I got expensive lawyers.”
Much of Trump’s chaotic and boisterous time on the stand was spent by lawyers highlighting incongruous deeds and assessments for the former president’s various international properties, including a development deed for Mar-a-Lago, which restricts the status of Trump’s primary residence to a club.
New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron already decided that New York Attorney General Letitia James had proved that Trump and his two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, committed fraud. At stake is a sizable chunk of Trump’s real estate empire, which he has described as his greatest accomplishment, notwithstanding his family.