Legal Expert Says There Is No Evidence of Accounting Fraud in Trump Case

By Victor Winston, updated on December 9, 2023

Key testimony from a respected accounting professor has challenged the fraud allegations against Trump, casting doubt on the case's foundation and potentially leading to charges being dropped.

The legal proceedings are scrutinizing accusations from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

James alleges that Trump, his company, and executives exaggerated the worth of assets in financial statements, affecting banks and insurers. Notable assets mentioned include Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago.

Expert Witness Challenges Fraud Allegations

Eli Bartov, a professor from New York University and an expert witness, presented a contrary view in court. He testified, finding no evidence of accounting fraud or significant misstatements in Trump's financial records. Bartov's testimony suggests that the discrepancies could be mere errors rather than intentional deceit, describing the financial statements as transparent and detailed.

"My main finding is that there is no evidence whatsoever of any accounting fraud. [Trump's] financial statements were not materially misstated."

The judge, however, raised concerns about Bartov's understanding of how banks like Deutsche Bank utilized these statements. He pointed out that these institutions seemed to adjust Trump's reported net worth on their own. Nevertheless, Bartov argued that such financial statements serve as starting points for negotiations and that differing valuation opinions do not automatically imply fraudulent intent.

Trump's Increased Courtroom Presence

Throughout the trial, Trump has been an intermittent presence, but he increased his attendance during the defense's presentation, US News reported.

Observers noted his active involvement, as he frequently pointed out documents to his lawyers and displayed frustration over objections to Bartov's testimony.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the trial as baseless and politically motivated, calling it a "witch hunt" and a "disgrace." In contrast, the state's position is firm, accusing Trump of engaging in financial fraud over many years.

Allegations of Conspiracy and Insurance Fraud

The non-jury trial is airing serious allegations, including conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying records. Notably, the judge has previously ruled that Trump engaged in fraud.

If found liable, Trump could face penalties exceeding $300 million and a ban on conducting business in New York.

During a heated exchange in the courtroom, Professor Bartov firmly defended his analysis. When questioned about his conclusions, he retorted to the inquiring party, expressing his commitment to truthfulness in his testimony.

"You should be ashamed of yourself, talking to me like that! I am here to tell the truth."

Meanwhile, Trump has been vocal during breaks, reiterating his stance that the case is an unfounded and politically motivated attack against him.

Closing Arguments and Potential Outcomes

As the trial moves towards its conclusion, the stakes are high. A ruling against Trump could not only impose significant financial penalties but also severely restrict his business activities in New York.

Throughout the trial, both sides have presented their narratives fiercely.

The state maintains its accusation of long-standing financial fraud, while Trump and his defense emphasize the absence of fraudulent intent in his financial statements.

Conclusion

This trial sheds light on complex financial practices and the fine line between error and intentional fraud.

As the courtroom awaits the final decision, the public and legal communities alike are keenly observing the unfolding of this high-profile case.

  • Former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial in New York has entered its defense phase.
  • NYU Professor Eli Bartov testified, finding no evidence of accounting fraud in Trump's financial statements.
  • The trial, filled with allegations of conspiracy and insurance fraud, is set to conclude before Christmas.
  • If found liable, Trump faces significant penalties and restrictions on his business activities in New York.

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About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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