Trump lawyers go after accountant and appeal major pretrial ruling in New York fraud case
MICHAEL R. SISAK, BOBCAINA CALVAN AND JENNIFER PELTZ
The fraud trial that could block former President Donald Trump from doing business in New York drilled down Wednesday into the question of who – his company or hired accountants – bore responsibility for financial statements that the state calls fraudulent.
With accountants on the witness stand and Trump at the defence table for a third day, his attorneys tried to pin blame on accounting firms for any problems with the statements. But lawyers for New York Attorney General Letitia James sought to show that the accountants relied entirely on information supplied by Trump and his company.
Outside the courtroom, meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers appealed a key pretrial ruling: that he engaged in fraud by puffing up the values of prized assets. The trial concerns six claims that remain in the lawsuit after that ruling.
Trump denies any wrongdoing. The trial comes as he leads the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and the stakes are high for him and the real estate empire that launched him into public life.
The pretrial ruling that’s now under appeal could cost him control of Trump Tower and some other properties. At the trial, James is seeking a $250 million penalty and a prohibition on Trump doing business in New York.
At the heart of the case are the “statements of financial condition,” yearly snapshots of Trump’s wealth that were given to banks, insurers and others.