Chaos Ensues During Trump’s Hearing

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Donald Trump’s civil fraud case took a dramatic turn on Wednesday when a former president’s lawyers accused witness Doug Larson of providing false testimony.

This $250 million legal battle stems from a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2022. The suit alleges that Trump and other Trump Organization executives conspired to exaggerate Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars on financial documents submitted to banks and insurers. The purpose was to facilitate deals and secure loans. Despite leading in GOP polls during his third presidential campaign, Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing vehemently.

Doug Larson, an appraiser whose name appears frequently in years’ worth of Trump’s financial records, began testifying on Tuesday. These documents suggest that valuations for Trump properties such as 40 Wall Street, Trump Tower, and Niketown were determined through multiple phone conversations with Larson.

However, when questioned by the state about these phone conversations on Tuesday, Larson claimed not to remember them. The state then proposed that the valuation figures were derived from a generic email Larson had sent to his clients. Larson, however, maintained that official appraisals should have been conducted on the buildings.

On Wednesday, Trump’s attorney, Lazaro Fields, cross-examined Larson regarding an email Larson received from Jeff McConney, the Trump Organization’s controller, on August 5, 2013. In the email, McConney asked Larson to provide a report similar to the one he had attached. Larson had previously denied conversing with McConney regarding the 40 Wall Street property in 2016.

Fields confronted Larson by saying, “You lied yesterday, didn’t you?” This question led to a chaotic moment in court, with another of Trump’s attorneys, Chris Kise, jumping in to suggest that the witness be advised about the potential for perjury. This led to heated objections from the state, and the judge instructed Larson to leave the courtroom.

Kise’s comments about potential perjury were met with accusations from the state that he was more interested in creating a spectacle for the media rather than genuinely caring about the witness’s rights.

Despite the back-and-forth, Larson was eventually allowed to return to the stand. When asked again if he had lied, the state objected. Further questioning followed, during which Larson stated that he did not collaborate with McConney in 2013 to assist in property valuation.

Judge Arthur Engoron had previously ruled that Letitia James had proven that Trump Organization assets had been inflated. The ongoing trial will determine the extent of penalties that may be imposed. Additionally, if prosecutors succeed, Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, could be barred from operating businesses in New York.

In addition to the civil lawsuit in New York, Trump faces 91 federal and state charges, all of which he denies. Throughout the year, he has been indicted on multiple occasions, including charges related to “hush money” in Manhattan on March 30, handling classified documents on June 8, election interference in Washington, D.C., on August 1, and racketeering and election interference charges in Georgia on August 24.

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