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Outraged Donald Trump Poutes and Tears Civil Fraud Trial in Newly Released Deposition Video

NEW YORK (AP) – Months before Donald TrumpAs a provocative witness during his civil fraud trial in New York, the former president came face-to-face with the state attorney general who is suing him while he sat for a deposition the last year in his Manhattan office.

Video released Friday of the seven-hour closed-door session last April shows the Republican presidential frontrunner’s demeanor shifting from calm and collected to outraged — at one point tearing up the attorney general. Letitia James the lawsuit brought against him as a “disgrace” and “a terrible thing”.

Sitting with his arms crossed, an incredulous Trump complained to the state’s attorney who was questioning him that he was forced to “justify myself to you” after decades of success in building a real estate empire now threatened by the trial.

Trump, who claims that James’ trial is part of a politically motivated “witch hunt,” was demonstrative from the start. The video shows him smiling and pouting as the attorney general, a Democrat, introduces herself and tells him she is “engaged in a fair and impartial legal process.”

James’ office released the video Friday in response to media requests under New York’s Freedom of Information Act. Trump’s lawyers previously released a transcript of his trial remarks in August.

James’ lawsuit accuses Trump, his company and his top executives of defrauding banks, insurers and others by inflating his wealth and exaggerating the value of assets listed in annual financial statements used to secure loans and close transactions.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who will decide the case because a jury is not allowed in this type of trial, said he hopes to have a decision by the end of January.

Friday’s video is a rare opportunity for the general public to see Trump as a witness.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom when Trump testified on November 6, nor during closing arguments in the case on January 11, where Trump defied the judge and delivered a six-minute rant after his lawyers have spoken.

Here are highlights from Trump’s recorded deposition:

‘YOU DON’T HAVE A CASE’

Telling James and his team, “you have no case,” Trump insisted that the banks, she said, were misled by high valuations, suffered no harm, were paid in connection with its transactions and “to date have no complaints”.

“Do you know that the banks made a lot of money? Trump asked, a preview of his later testimony at the trial. “Do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever received even a notice of default and, even during COVID, the banks all got paid. And yet you’re suing on behalf of the banks, I suppose. It’s crazy. This whole thing is crazy.

Banks “want to do business with me because I’m rich,” Trump told James. “But you know what, they’re petrified of doing business because of you.”

Trump lamented that New York authorities “spend all their time investigating me, instead of stopping violent crime on the streets.”

He said they sent his recently imprisoned ex-CFO, Allen Weisselberg, “through hell” for dodging taxes on employee benefits paid by the company.

During a previous deposition in the case, in August 2022, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions more than 400 times. He said he did so because he was certain his answers would serve as the basis for criminal charges.

Don’t take my word for it

Trump said he never thought his financial statements “would be taken very seriously” and that people who did business with him had been adequately warned not to trust them.

Trump described the statements as “a pretty good compilation of properties” rather than a true representation of their value. Some figures, he noted, were “estimates.”

Trump claimed the statements were primarily for his use, although he admitted financial institutions sometimes requested them. Even then, he insisted it didn’t matter legally whether they were accurate or not, because they came with a disclaimer.

“I have a clause in there that says, ‘Don’t believe this statement.’ Go out and do your own job,” Trump said. “You are not supposed to give any credibility to what we say. »

WHAT’S IN A NAME? 10 BILLION DOLLARS

Trump estimated that his “brand” alone is worth “maybe $10 billion.”

He called him “the most valuable asset I have” and attributed his political success to the omnipresence of his name and personality.

“I became president because of the brand, right,” Trump said. “I became president. I think it’s the hottest brand in the world.

“THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD”

After Trump was elected, he placed the Trump Organization in a trust overseen by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and longtime CFO Weisselberg.

Trump claimed he did so not because it was necessary, but because he wanted to be a “legitimate president” and avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Plus, Trump said, he was busy solving the world’s problems, like stopping North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un from launching a nuclear attack.

“I considered it the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives,” Trump testified. “I think there would be a nuclear holocaust if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think there would be a nuclear war if I wasn’t elected. And I think you could have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth.

OBSTRUCTED VIEW

In one of his most animated moments, Trump urged his inquisitors to look out the window to get a view of his 40 Wall Street office tower — directly across the street from James’ office where he testified.

When asked how the building was doing financially, Trump gestured toward the building with his thumb and replied, “Good. It’s here. Would you like to see it?”

“I don’t think we’re allowed to open the windows,” Wallace said.

“Open the curtain,” Trump suggested, shaking his head as he waited for someone to oblige.

“No,” Wallace said.

“Open the curtain, go ahead,” Trump said. “It’s here. I just looked out the window.

“Can’t you open it?” » asked defense lawyer Clifford Robert, after a moment.

“I wouldn’t,” Wallace said.

“BEAUTIFUL” AND “INCREDIBLE”

Trump showed his gift for superlatives, saying the words “beautiful” and “amazing” 15 times each and “phenomenal” six times to describe his properties.

Trump called his Turnberry golf course, Scotland, “one of the most iconic places in the world,” and the renovated villas at his Doral golf resort, near Miami, “the most beautiful rooms you have never seen.”

Trump has described his 213-acre estate in Seven Springs, northern New York, as “the largest home in New York State.”

His golf courses in Aberdeen, Scotland? “Truly unbelievable.” Jupiter, Florida? “An incredible facility. » Just outside of Los Angeles? “An incredible property… an incredible property… a phenomenal property that faces the ocean. »

“I don’t want to sell any of them,” Trump said. “But if I ever sold them – if I ever put some of these things up for sale – I would get some staggering numbers.”

He said he could get $1.5 billion for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and perhaps $2.5 billion for Doral.

Trump suggested he could get “a fortune” from the Saudi-backed LIV golf league for the Turnberry course, a former site of the British Open.

“There would be people who would do anything to own Doral. There are people who would do anything to own Turnberry or Mar-a-Lago or… Trump Tower or 40 Wall Street.

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Jeoffro René

I photograph general events and conferences and publish and report on these events at the European level.
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