Former President Donald Trump Is Said To Have Inflated Values To Many of His Key Properties To Promote His Net Worth and Business Career
The trial holding former President Donald Trump accountable for fraud began Monday in New York — and if found liable for the remaining charges, will tarnish his reputation as a legitimate businessman, and cost him a penalty of up to $250 million.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the civil fraud case, alleges that Trump has been inflating the values of his net worth and real estate properties to propel his business career and be deemed wealthier than he actually is.
Justice Arthur Engoron, the court judge, stripped Trump of his licenses, restricting him from operating any of his New York real estate properties — which could result in a lasting effect on the Trump Organization.
The trial is expected to last around two months, with no jury, rather the decisions being made by Justice Engoron.
“Year after year, loan after loan, defendants misrepresented Mr. Trump’s net worth,” said Kevin Wallace in opening statements, a lawyer working with James.
Wallace claimed that many of Trump’s key properties were priced at unrealistic, inflated values, “including the triplex apartment in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue; 40 Wall Street in the heart of the financial district; and his Seven Springs estate in Westchester County.”
James’ goal of the trial is to ensure the large penalty, and have Trump banned from receiving loans from New York banks or conducting any type of commercial real estate work throughout the state — something that was instrumental to beginning Trump’s empire over 50 years ago.
Trump’s lead lawyer Christopher M. Kise defended Trump, saying “there was no nefarious intent,” and that the differences in valuations “simply reflects the change in a complex, sophisticated real estate development corporation.” Kise also said that the statements provided to banks and insurers are estimates, and that it’s just part of the commercial real estate world.
Kise claimed that there was no ill intent, and banks did not rely on the estimates, and, they actually made money from dealing with the former president.
The case has proven to be a bother to Trump, provoking him to say that he’d much rather be campaigning in states like New Hampshire and Iowa. Despite Trump’s constant legal woes however, he still leads significantly in various polls among Republican candidates, including one done by NBC News.
According to NBC News’ poll of 321 Republican primary voters, “Despite facing several indictments, having his mugshot released in August and skipping the first Republican debate, Trump now leads the Republican presidential contest by more than 40 points, according to the poll.”
Trump’s trial is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET and conclude at 4:30 p.m. daily. Friday’s, the trial will end at 1 p.m., for the judge to focus on other work in the court.