Documents and testimony from former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial this week may undermine New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case against him.
The bank James alleges Trump defrauded was eager to land him as a client over a decade ago, according to documents presented Wednesday during his civil fraud trial and reported by The Associated Press, and a 17-year employee of the bank testified Tuesday that the adjustments the bank made to his net worth were not unusual. Judge Engoron ruled in September in the lawsuit brought by James that Trump defrauded banks and insurance companies by inflating his net worth and overvaluing assets.
Trump’s legal team introduced emails and documents Wednesday that detailed the bank’s interest in cultivating a relationship with Trump.
The bank’s projected revenue from business with Trump increased from $13,000 in 2011 to an estimated $6 million in 2013, a document that was introduced during the trial showed, according to The Hill.
The document, prepared for co-chair Anshu Jain ahead of a lunch he scheduled to have with Trump in 2013, also provided Jain suggestions for the meeting, like trying to “strategically discuss leveraging Mr. Trump’s personal and professional network within the real estate industry in NY” and asking to “obtain more deposits and investment management assets,” according to the AP.
“[G]iven the circles this family travels in, we expect to be introduced to the wealthiest people on the planet,” Vrablic likewise said in a 2011 email, according to the AP.
When considering a loan for Trump to purchase a golf resort near Miami, the bank cut his estimated $4.2 billion net worth to $2.4 billion, according to the AP. David Williams, who has worked for 17 years in Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management division and was involved with Trump Organization loans, testified Tuesday that the discrepancy wasn’t an issue for the bank, according to CNN.
“It’s not unusual or atypical for any client’s provide[d] financial statements to be adjusted to this level to this extent,” he said during the trial Tuesday, according to CNN..
“I think we expect clients-provided information to be accurate,” Williams said, according to Fortune. “At the same time, it’s not an industry standard that these statements be audited. They’re largely reliant on the use of estimates.”
The estimate Engoron cited in his ruling to show Trump overvalued Mar-a-Lago was also well below market value, local real estate experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation in October.
Engoron cited the Palm Beach County Assessor’s appraisal of “between $18 million and 27.6 million,” the office’s public information officer said was for “taxation purposes only.” Palm Beach Board of Realtors President John O. Pickett III told the DCNF that his colleagues believe the property is “worth $250 million or more” — closer to the $426,529,614 to $612,110,496 Trump listed on filings between 2011-2021.
Engoron said Tuesday that the “mere fact that the lenders were happy doesn’t mean that the statute wasn’t violated,” according to CNN.
Four Deutsche Bank executives are slated to testify in the trial this week, The Hill reported.
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