Former President Donald Trump made a dramatic move on the witness stand during his civil fraud trial in Manhattan. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a piece of paper that he claimed would put an end to the case once and for all. However, much to Trump’s dismay, he was not allowed to read the document out loud. According to the New York Post, the paper was likely a routine disclaimer notice that warned potential lenders to conduct their own valuations of Trump’s properties before lending money to his business.
— Donna Smelko (@SmelkoDonna) November 8, 2023
The $250 million civil suit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accuses Trump of overvaluing his organization’s assets to borrow money under favorable terms. However, the lawsuit fails to make any claim that any person or entity was actually victimized. It’s simply preposterous to assume that savvy financial experts in Manhattan would lend millions of dollars solely based on the borrower’s word. Furthermore, it’s even more ludicrous to believe that James, in a state facing significant population decline and budget problems, can better protect private bank money than the highly paid bank managers themselves.
To make matters worse, the New York Supreme Court Justice, Arthur Engoron, has shown clear disdain for Trump throughout the trial. Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his organization are guilty of fraud, leaving the current argument to be about the penalties. Unsurprisingly, Engoron had no desire to let Trump read the disclaimer document in court. Trump expressed his shock and frustration, leading to a courtroom outburst where he called Engoron and James frauds.
Engoron’s previous ruling undermined the effectiveness of disclaimer statements, claiming they don’t absolve defendants of liability and place the responsibility for accuracy solely on their shoulders. However, this disregards the reality that banks make investment decisions based on extensive documentation and assessment of a borrower’s net worth and ability to repay. Trump firmly believed that the disclaimer vindicated him, emphasizing that banks did not pay much attention to it when making lending decisions. It’s utterly ridiculous that a civil lawsuit is being pursued based on an estimation, as if the financial giants in New York City would make uninformed decisions about lending money to Trump.
Given the political climate in New York, where Democrats hold power, and Trump’s immense threat to President Biden’s Democratic administration, it’s no surprise that this trial is taking place. However, the fact that an attorney general would pursue such a case, a judge would allow it to proceed, and that it is being conducted in such a biased manner by Engoron is disgraceful. It’s clear that even a show trial needs to come to an end at some point.