Trump New York Fraud Trial Day 3 Updates

Catherine Yang
By Catherine Yang
October 4, 2023Donald Trump
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It's day three in the financial fraud trial of former President Donald Trump. NTD's reporter Arleen Richards is on the ground with the latest.

Court Adjourns—4:55 p.m.

Camron Harris, an accountant of Whitley Penn, took to the witness stand to give second testimony in the case, following up where accountant Donald Bender of Mazars left off in testifying on the financial statements of the Trump Organization.

The prosecution sought to show that the Trump Organization was responsible for accurate accounting, and that it provided the figures used by the accounting firms the organization employed.

Tomorrow, the defense will continue to cross-examine Mr. Bender, whose questioning was paused this afternoon to allow the prosecutors to move on to their second witness.

Next on the prosecution’s witness list is Jeffrey McConney, a defendant and former Trump Organization executive.

Accounts Share Similar Testimonies—3:20 p.m.

Camron Harris, an accountant with Whitley Penn, which took over Trump Organization accounting after Mazars, picked up testifying on financial statements after Mazars account Donald Bender was questioned by the defense.

Like Mr. Bender, Mr. Harris is saying that the Trump Organization was responsible for all the financial information used in the financial statements his firm prepared.

Second Witness Takes Stand—2:37 p.m.

Camron Harris, audit partner with Whitley Penn, was sworn in as the prosecution’s second witness.

Whitley Penn is the accounting firm that is now working with some of the LLCs under the Trump Organization.

Trump Leaves Court, Trial Resumes—2:15 p.m.

Former President Donald Trump left for the day, but signaled he may return later in the week.

New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke to reporters on the way back into the courtroom, blasting the former president for campaigning in court. “The Donald Trump show is over,” she said.

The trial will resume with cross-examination of Donald Bender, former Mazars account who prepared the Trump Organization financial statements.

Trump Appeals Summary Judgment

Attorneys for President Trump filed an appeal on Wednesday, asking the appeals court to overturn New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s summary judgment on Sept. 26 that found him liable for fraud, following up on a Sept. 27 notice that they would appeal.

The judge’s pretrial ruling canceled President Trump’s business licenses and ordered the dissolution of the Trump Organization and related LLCs.

Morning Session Ends—12:53 p.m.

The court took a break for lunch right before 1 p.m. The trial will resume at 2:15 p.m.

During the break, President Trump gave the media an update on the proceedings.

“So we’re going the down the line, page by page, document by document,” he said.

However, “the bottom line is this is rigged,” he added, claiming that the judge is already predisposed to rule against him.

He got heated as he disparaged comments and claims from the prosecution and judge about the valuation of his properties, viewing them as an attack on his net worth and brand. The case has been personal for the former president, who has built a brand as a successful entrepreneur and real estate developer. He joined his father’s company in 1968, and two years after taking the helm, renamed it Trump Organization in 1973.

“I’m here, stuck here, and I can’t campaign,” he said.

“Why attend?” he said, responding to a reporter’s question. “Because I want to point it out to the press, how corrupt it is, because nobody else seems to be able to do it.”

Judge Takes Issue With Defense’s Questioning of Witness—12:00 p.m.

Justice Engoron has been interrupting and questioning the defense’s cross-examination of witness Donald Bender, a former Mazars USA partner who prepared tax returns for Donald Trump and financial statements for the Trump Organization.

He took advice from his clerk and asked the defense to move faster and not ask the same questions about each year, arguing with the defense counsel and overruling their objections.

“Lump things together so we don’t waste time. Just be logical. I’m not going to let you ask every single line when you can just ask one time for all of them. I’m not going to let you get away with this,” Justice Engoron said.

The prosecution had previously asked the same questions of Mr. Bender about each year from 2011 to 2021, seeking to establish that the Trump Organization was responsible for proper accounting, not Mazars, which only used the figures supplied by Trump Organization executives.

The defense argued that it was crucial to the prosecution to prove the case year by year, and therefore the defense needs to be able to counter it year by year. They added that several people with Mazars worked with the Trump Organization, not just Mr. Bender, and they needed to establish who was responsible for what.

The judge’s exchanges with the defense counsel got heated, with him yelling “This is ridiculous!” and pounding on the desk. He also interrupted questioning, saying he didn’t think the witness understood the defense counsel’s question, and supplying his own question.

Trump Enters Courtroom—10:05 a.m.

President Trump was seen in intense discussion with attorneys.

The trial will resume with witness Donald Bender, former Mazars USA partner and accountant who worked with the Trump Organization and President Trump personally.

Yesterday, the trial concluded with a meeting between both parties and the judge after the press was removed.

Trump Addresses Potential Speaker Nomination—10:04 a.m.

Reporters asked Mr. Trump whether he would be House Speaker. After former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted yesterday, Trump supporters floated his name for the next nomination.

“A lot of people have been asking me about the speaker,” he said. “All I can say is we’ll do whatever’s best for the country and for the Republican Party.”

“We have some great, great people,” he said, adding that many people have asked him about it, but he’s focused on his presidential campaign and leading in the polls. “There are some great people in the Republican Party who would do a great job as speaker … I’ll do whatever I can to help, but my focus, my total focus, is on being president, and quite honestly, making America great again, because we are in a country in decline.”

Trump Arrives, Tells Press, ‘This Is the Beginning of Communism’—9:58 a.m.

President Trump pointed out the case against him is under Executive Law 63(12), a consumer fraud statute that requires no proof of victimhood, which he called “maybe unconstitutional.”

“This is just a continuation of the witch hunt that started the day I came down the Trump Tower escalator,” he said.

“It doesn’t [allow] me a jury, it doesn’t allow me anything,” he said. He accused Ms. James of “forcing companies out by the thousands, forcing people out” due to “incompetence” and allowing rising crime and violence.

“You know she did this because she was running for governor,” he claimed.

He said the statute had never been used in a case like the one against him, which he again decried as “election interference.”

President Trump claimed if he had a jury, he’d “win this case very easily.”

“You see what’s happening, this is a railroad. This is the beginning of communism in our country,” he said. “It’s a shame for our country. You borrow money, you pay it back, the bank loves us … and you get sued by a political animal.”

“That’s why New York State is failing, and that’s why companies are leaving,” he said.

Trump Expected to Attend Third Day, Explains Jury Issue—9:45 a.m.

President Trump is going to trial for the first time this year, in a civil fraud case Ms. James has brought against him. He did not attend trials in a defamation case against him earlier this year, and is still facing four criminal cases against him which he has said he may attend to testify.

At risk is his entire Trump Organization group of businesses, which the judge has already ordered the dissolution of with details still up in the air, and the potential loss of all his New York buildings. Ms. James is also asking for penalties of $250 million.

The great attention the former president is paying this case speaks to the personal nature of the lawsuit and what he stands to lose. He has previously said that going after his businesses is a “red line,” and has built his image as the successful billionaire entrepreneur. He has blasted the prosecution and judge for undervaluing his net worth and properties several times since New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron issued a pretrial summary judgment siding with Ms. James, who accused President Trump of overvaluing his net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

On Tuesday, the second day of the trial, Forbes released its annual Forbes 400 list of America’s richest, dropping the former president. The publication has estimated his net worth to be $2.6 billion, down $600 million from last year.

On Truth Social, President Trump said it was unfair that he was being tried under a law that requires no proof of victimhood, and that it was unfair that he was “ot even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).”

The trial is a bench trial, meaning the judge is the sole arbiter of the facts and ruling. On Monday, Justice Engoron had opened the trial noting that no one had requested a trial—attorneys for the prosecution and defense later clarified to the media that neither side had the opportunity to request one; it was not available to the defense, and the prosecutors are seeking penalties that need to be ordered by a judge.

From The Epoch Times

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