Former US President Donald Trump was heard in a court in New York in the case against him for fraud in the valuation of his assets, the agencies reported. The civil suit filed against the billionaire threatens to weaken his real estate business empire, which practically made him famous.
The charge against Trump is that he intentionally inflated the value of properties he owns for financial gain, based on an appraisal made at the request of the New York State Attorney’s Office. In the courtroom, the former president defended himself, saying that the valuations of his properties contained in the lawsuit were inaccurate.
“They (the properties) were simply not a significant part of the bank’s decision-making process and we intend to explain that in the course of the case, this insane case,” Trump said in his responses while being questioned by U.S. Attorney Kevin Wallace.
Judge Arthur Engoren has already ruled that the valuations of the disputed properties that the former president declared were manipulated. According to prosecutors, this price gouging earned Trump a $100 million credit and illegally increased his fortune by $2 billion.
He has repeatedly described the case as a political “witch hunt”. Today, Trump criticized Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James on social media, and in courtroom said the purpose of this trial is to prevent his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. “This is a political war, or rather a political-judicial war,” he said upon entering the hall, BTA reports.
James took issue with these remarks. “At the end of the day, the only things that matter are the facts and the numbers. The numbers, my dear friends, don’t lie,” she said outside the courthouse.
Trump’s displeasure continued when he had already taken his seat on the witness stand. From it, he accused judicial authorities that since he won the presidential election in 2016, they had unjustifiably put his business under scrutiny.
“I’m confident the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me,” the Republican billionaire said.
Engoren urged Trump not to deviate from the testimony procedure.
“You can attack me, you can do whatever you want, but please just answer the question,” he told the former president.
Unlike the other four cases against the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination for next year’s election, the one he testified about today does not risk him going to prison as he tries to return to the White House, Reuters noted.