Former President Donald Trump has admitted that he submitted financial statements with inflated property values to banks and insurers to induce lending, according to a transcript of his deposition by the New York attorney general’s office.
The admission is seen as a key fact for the attorney general’s $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump and his company, which alleges that they inflated the value of their assets to secure loans, insurance, and tax benefits.
“It’s a critical admission. He’s admitting that he intended to induce the banks to lend. That’s the whole point of the fraud case,” said Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University.
Trump testified for nine hours on October 25, 2023, as part of the civil case, which is one of several legal challenges he faces after leaving office. He claimed that he did not know the exact numbers and relied on his accountants and other professionals to prepare the financial statements.
“They were done by accountants. I relied on accountants to do financial statements, and they put them together. I don’t even know what they are,” Trump said.
However, the attorney general’s office scored several points in the deposition, such as showing that Trump lied to reporters about the revenue and value of his properties, that he used different methods to value his assets depending on the purpose, and that he had a history of inflating his wealth to boost his ego and image.
“You always wanted to show your best, didn’t you? You wanted to show your financial strength,” James H. Hershberg, a lawyer for the attorney general’s office, said to Trump during the deposition.
Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., also testified in the case and blamed their accountants for exaggerating their father’s net worth by billions of dollars, saying that they did not review the financial statements before signing them.
“We don’t look at the numbers. It’s signed by our accountants. It’s our accountants’ representation to the world,” Eric Trump said.
The lawsuit seeks to recover $250 million in damages and penalties from Trump and his company, as well as to ban them from conducting business in New York for 10 years. The case is expected to go to trial next year.
– “Damning”: Legal experts say NY AG got Trump to make “critical admission” in fraud testimony, Salon, November 7, 2023
– 5 memorable moments from Trump’s chaotic testimony in NY fraud trial, NBC News, November 6, 2023
– Trump’s sons blame accountants for exaggerating dad’s net worth by billions, MSN, November 2, 2023
– Bingo: Trump Admits Intent to “Induce Lending” With Financial Statements, The New Republic, November 6, 2023