Letitia James Scores Major Wins In Latest Testimony From Trump’s Fraud Trial

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Appearing in court in New York this Tuesday in the trial on business fraud claims brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen directly implicated in plain language the former president in claimed fraudulent activity. Quotes from Cohen appeared in news publications including The Messenger. The proceedings were not being streamed for general viewing.

“I was tasked by Mr. Trump to increase the total assets based upon a number that he arbitrarily elected,” Cohen told the court. “And my responsibility, along with Allen Weisselberg, predominantly, was [to] reverse-engineer the various asset classes — increase those assets to achieve the number that Mr. Trump asked us.” In other words, it sounds like Cohen, Weisselberg, and anyone else involved in this scheme worked to arbitrarily inflate the value of various Trump assets to reach a level of claimed personal wealth that Trump wanted. Trump, notably, was present Tuesday. He was not required to attend the trial and has skipped some of the proceedings.

Cohen’s testimony could connect to a remaining claim from James of falsifying business records, a contention that was not resolved before the ongoing trial. The trial will be decided by the judge — Arthur Engoron — rather than a jury.

In general, allegedly fraudulent inflations of the claimed values for various Trump assets have been a driving factor in James’ case, in which Engoron already formally concluded that the former president had perpetrated fraud. There are some dramatic examples of the trend, like Trump and his team leaning on a claimed size of his personal residence at Trump Tower in New York that was three times larger than its actual size!

Now, Trump is claiming outside of court an astronomical value for his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago that puts the property in the area of billions of dollars, though it’s unclear any consequence might arise from these foundation-less arguments, however extreme. Seemingly, that level of extremity in rhetoric has lately been confined to social media and speeches.