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Deutsche Bank testimony shakes NY AG’s case; Trump renews attack on bias, Engoron’s ‘co-judge’

New York Attorney General Letitia James
by WorldTribune Staff, December 1, 2023

A major blow was dealt to New York Attorney General Letitia James's bid to ban Donald Trump from doing business in New York as executives at Deutsche Bank testified that “high-wealth clients” often elevate their net worth on self-reported financial statements.

The testimony directly countered James's case that Trump inflated his assets to obtain favorable terms from banks and insurers.

James has portrayed Deutsche Bank as Trump’s biggest victim.

But Deutsche Bank executive David Williams testified on Tuesday that the bank lent hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump for properties in Miami, Chicago, and Washington. In the years 2011 and 2012, the bank cut Trump’s stated net worth from roughly $4.2 billion to $2.3 billion (see below), but approved the loans based on Trump’s history of successful developments and other criteria.

“It’s not unusual or atypical for any client to provide financial statements to be adjusted to this level to this extent,” Williams testified. “We expect clients provided information to be accurate,” he continued, but “at the same time, it’s not an industry standard that these financial statements are audited they [are] largely reliant on the use of estimate…”

Trump, and his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, have testified that no banks have been victimized by the alleged inflated valuation and asserts that the banks have made a considerable profit from interest on the loans.

Meanwhile, Trump and his lawyers have filed a memo in support of a mistrial, arguing that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron demonstrated his bias for all to see when he said in court, “We are not here to hear what [Trump] has to say.”

A memorandum of law filed on behalf of Trump, his eldest sons Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization, among others, argued that “evidence of apparent and actual bias […] coupled with an unprecedented departure from standard judicial procedure, has tainted these proceedings,” warranting a mistrial.

The memo also renewed concerns about Engoron law clerk Allison Greenfield. Trump shared a post on Truth Social about Greenfield in October, leading Engoron to issue a gag order.

“Schumer’s girlfriend, Alison [sic] R. Greenfield, is running this case against me,” the post said, referring to a photo Greenfield posed for with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D). “How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately.”

The Trump memo asserted that Engoron’s issuance of gag order sua sponte (on his own motion) was “unconstitutional” and had the effects of silencing criticism and shielding the “Principal Law Clerk’s ‘co-judging’ and partisan political activity from public scrutiny.”

A New York appeals court reinstated the gag order on Thursday.

Appeals court Judge David Friedman had issued a stay on Engoron's gag order on Nov. 16, saying it potentially infringed on Trump's First Amendment rights.

By that time, Engoron had already fined Trump $5,000 for violating the order on social media on Oct. 20, and did so again on Oct. 25 for another $10,000 before threatening imprisonment if further violations were committed.

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