Trump criticizes NYAG case in Manhattan court, praises appellate ruling
Calling the non-jury civil trial in New York against him and his company a "weaponization of justice," former President Donald Trump once more denounced the proceedings and the case filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James as "election interference."
Days before he is scheduled to testify again in the trial on Monday, Dec. 11 Trump made an appearance in court on Thursday, as Fox News reported.
Trump responded to testimony given by defense expert witness Eli Bartov, an accounting professor at New York University, on Thursday morning.
Bartov had examined the financial statements of the defendant in question and said that he had not discovered any indication of accounting fraud.
In his testimony, Bartov maintained that Trump's financial records complied with accounting standards and that any discrepancies, such as a significant increase in the estimated worth of his Trump Tower penthouse from year to year, were the result of human error.
"My main finding is that there is no evidence whatsoever of any accounting fraud," Bartov testified.
Trump’s financial statements, according to the expert, "were not materially misstated."
The former president reacted to that testimony during a court break, said Bartov is a "highly respected man, "going on to say "I don't know him, but he's an expert witness. And he found no fraud whatsoever. He found no accounting fraud whatsoever.
"And like everyone else, he said, ‘What are we doing here?’ What are we doing here? This is a political witch hunt. This is meant to influence an election. This also comes from the White House. This is not just a state matter because the White House is controlling district attorneys."
Trump added: "This case should be over. This case should never have been brought." The former president, again, characterized the case as a "weaponization of justice."
"This is something that nobody's ever seen to this extent is called election interference," Trump said. "It's a sad day for our country that if things like this can take place."
Trump, a former president and once again a Republican presidential candidate added: "I'm sitting in a courthouse instead of being in Iowa where I should be, even though I'm leading by about 40 points."
While Trump was in court on Thursday, a New York State Appeals Court upheld an October ruling that put off the Trump Organization's dissolution until after the trial was over.
In October, the dissolution of some of the former president's most valuable properties was temporarily put on hold while the civil fraud trial was ongoing by the New York Appellate Division.
Judge Arthur Engoron's pre-trial decision from September, which concluded that Trump and his family firm had committed fraud, was put on hold by that decision. Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street were among the properties that the Trump family lost as a result of the order.
During his court appearance in Manhattan on Thursday, Trump declared that the decision was a win for business.
"The appellate division, New York State, just gave us a very good ruling," he said. "Appreciate it. I think the country appreciates it."