During the New York trial on Monday, a Trump Organization executive testified that former President Donald Trump informed his ex-CFO, Allen Weisselberg, that he wanted an increase in his net worth on his financial statements. The testimony is part of Attorney General Letitia James’ case, alleging fraud by the ex-president and his company through the intentional inflation of asset values.
Under questioning from prosecutors, Trump Organization executive Patrick Birney acknowledged that Weisselberg had conveyed Trump’s wish for an elevated net worth on the statement of financial condition. The testimony supports the prosecution’s contention that Trump and his associates deliberately inflated valuations to boost Trump’s net worth, facilitating more advantageous business deals.
Prosecutors asked Birney if Weisselberg “ever told you that Mr. Trump wanted his net worth on the statement of financial condition to go up.”
“Yes,” Birney responded.
This testimony aligns with previous statements by ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who asserted that Trump directed him and Weisselberg to increase asset values to enhance Trump’s annual net worth, aiming to improve his standing on Forbes’ billionaires list.
Trump’s defense objected to the line of questioning, labeling it as hearsay. Trump and his attorneys have consistently denied the fraud allegations, emphasizing the subjectivity of valuations based on Trump’s real estate expertise.
Trump is anticipated to testify, and despite a judge’s prior finding of liability for fraud, he and his associates face charges, including insurance fraud and falsification of business records. Potential consequences include a $250 million fine for Trump, and a prohibition on him and his children from managing New York businesses, in addition to the cancellation of his business certificates.
The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General James in November 2022, alleges that Trump and his associates fraudulently misrepresented over 200 valuations on financial statements from 2011 to 2021. The ongoing fraud trial, now in its third week, is expected to continue until mid-December.
Witnesses from the Trump Organization and financial institutions have testified about document preparation, valuation calculations, and claims that Trump’s presidential status influenced valuations. Weisselberg also testified that Trump would review the company’s financial statements until he became president and occasionally offer comments on them.