Former President Donald Trump took the stand in the penalty phase of his $250 million civil fraud trial in New York on Monday, and quickly became defensive after being sworn in. Trump called the prosecutors and “every other Democratic district attorney, AG, U.S. attorney — Trump haters,” adding that “the judge will rule against me because he will always rule against me.”
Weeks after Trump was found guilty of inflating the value of his real estate properties, Trump said during his testimony that he did believe that values of his statement of financial condition were off, “both high and low”. In response to a question from state attorney Kevin Wallace, Trump stated that his triplex apartment in Trump Tower was overvalued with a correction of about $200 million applied to his financial statement, but argued that the value of his “brand” — not a part of the financial statement — in the billions: “the most valuable asset was the brand value … I became president because of my brand.”
Judge Arthur Engoron attempted to redirect Trump, whose long-winded and off-topic responses on several occasions delayed testimony, and implored him to answer the questions posed to him. Engoron said: “You can attack me — you can do whatever you want. Please just answer the questions.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the case against Trump, is seeking at least $250 million for the fraud that she asserts inflated Donald Trump’s wealth by $2.2 billion. Trump’s testimony is being used to determine the amount of damages the former president will pay after Engoron issued a summary ruling that found Trump’s real estate business enriched itself by inflating the value of his real estate, including his hotels and golf clubs.
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