Former President Donald Trump blasted New York’s civil fraud trial against him and said the banks he is accused of misleading for years actually benefited from lending hundreds of millions of dollars to his real estate business.
(Bloomberg) — Former President Donald Trump blasted New York’s civil fraud trial against him and said the banks he is accused of misleading for years actually benefited from lending hundreds of millions of dollars to his real estate business.
Outside a state courtroom in Manhattan Tuesday, where the trial is in its third week, Trump said his former lender Deutsche Bank AG was happy to lend him money because he paid them back and never defaulted.
“And we have other executives coming in from banks that will say the same thing,” Trump said, flanked by his lawyers and security staff in front of a crowd of reporters before entering the courtroom. “This is a disgraceful situation.”
— Bloomberg (@business) October 17, 2023
Trump, 77, is accused of inflating the value of his assets by billions of dollars a year to get better terms on loans and insurance. It’s one of six trials the former president is facing as he seeks reelection in 2024, including in four criminal prosecutions. Trump denies wrongdoing in all of the cases.
The former president isn’t required to attend the civil trial in which his control of some of his biggest assets is at stake. He unexpectedly showed up during the first three days of the proceeding, using the media attention to deliver pointed attacks on the judge overseeing the case as well as New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat and frequent Trump critic who filed the suit last year.
Trump resumed his attacks Tuesday, saying the $250 million civil fraud case was a “witch hunt by a radical lunatic.” He also called it a “rigged trial” because his liability will be decided by a judge instead of a jury. The law he’s accused of breaking doesn’t allow for a jury, which is unfair, Trump said.
Read More: Ex-Deutsche Bank Risk Manager Says He Relied on Trump Claims
In his statement, Trump incorrectly claimed that a former Deutsche Bank executive who testified in the trial last week had exonerated him.
“He said that Trump did nothing wrong,” Trump said.
James “Nicholas” Haigh, a former risk manager
who had the final say on loans to some of the bank’s wealthiest US clients, testified last week that he “assumed” the financial representations in Trump’s statements were accurate. The former bank official didn’t weigh in on whether he believed Trump had been dishonest, as the state alleges.
Trump on Tuesday reiterated his belief that his net worth was actually much higher than what was on his annual statements of financial condition, the allegedly fraudulent documents at the center of the trial. He’s argued that the Trump “brand” was worth billions of dollars and yet wasn’t included on the document. “Therefore there was no fraud,” he said.
The annual statements were actually “very conservative, and that’s what the banks got.”
“I should be in Iowa now,” said Trump, who is campaigning as the Republican frontrunner to return to the White House. “I should be in New Hampshire now.”
Trump also complained about the gag order imposed against him in a separate federal criminal case over election obstruction. A judge in Washington on Monday barred him from making public statements “targeting” prosecutors, court staff or potential witnesses.
“I’m being restricted,” Trump said. “My speech is being taken away from me.”
Read More: Trump Gag Order in DC Case Bars Attacks on Smith, Witnesses
(Updates with detail on today’s testimony.)
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