"The facts don’t lie": NY AG explains how Trump's expert witnesses help her case against him

NY AG Letitia James said that one expert admitted some Trump valuations were not "proper" or "reasonable"

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published December 11, 2023 1:13PM (EST)

Letitia James and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Letitia James and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

New York Attorney General Letitia James said that Donald Trump's pricey expert witnesses are actually helping her civil case against the former president and his real estate empire.

"Over the past few days, we continue to hear testimony from the defendants' many expert witnesses," James said of the fraud case in a video message posted on X, formerly Twitter, Friday. 

James explained that one of Trump's experts "admitted that the valuations of some of the properties on Donald Trump's statement of financial condition were neither 'proper,' nor 'reasonable.'" Another expert, who's a member of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort club, testified that Trump asked him personally to "help" in the trial when they crossed paths at the club, James further explained.

The prosecutor also claimed that Trump's political action committee, Save America, paid another Trump expert, an accounting professor, to testify that the value of Trump's triplex was inflated. "On that we can agree," James said.

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"He also had a lot to say about Donald Trump's statements of financial condition, even though he has not prepared a financial statement since the 1980s," she said of Trump's third witness. That witness is Eli Bartov, a research professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, who has charged Trump at least $877,500 in fees for his testimony amounting to an hourly rate of $1,350, according to Business Insider. Of the 11 experts called by the defense, two testified for free, and the rest cost Trump's legal team over $2 million.

"Donald Trump can continue to try to distract from reality. He can continue to call me names. But as the judge said today, 'the standard is truth.' And the truth is on our side," James said in the message.

Her civil fraud case, which seeks $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump's, his sons' and other key Trump Organization executives' ability to do business in the state, accuses the defendants of knowingly inflating the value of their assets on statements of financial condition to obtain better loan terms and deals. 

On Monday, the trial entered its 11th week. The former president was slated to testify during Monday's proceeding but announced on his social media platform, Truth Social, Sunday that he would no longer be taking the stand

In response, James issued a statement saying, "Whether or not Trump testifies again tomorrow, we have already proven that he committed years of financial fraud and unjustly enriched himself and his family. No matter how much he tries to distract from reality, the facts don’t lie."

Ahead of the trial in September, presiding Judge Arthur Engoron issued a partial summary judgment that found Trump and the other defendants liable for defrauding banks and insurers. 

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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Brief Donald Trump Fraud Lawsuit Letitia James New York News