Video of Trump's civil fraud trial testimony released

 January 21, 2024

Months before Donald Trump's New York civil fraud trial, a video of the former president's seven-hour deposition with state Attorney General Letitia James was made public.

The footage, captured last April, showcases Trump's demeanor shifting from calm to indignant as he criticized James's lawsuit against him as a "disgrace" and a "terrible thing."

The deposition

During the deposition, Trump expressed frustration, claiming he was being forced to "justify myself" after decades of success in building a real estate empire.

He accused James of engaging in a politically motivated "witch-hunt" against him. The lawsuit, filed by James, alleges that Trump, his company, and top executives defrauded banks, insurers, and others by inflating his wealth and exaggerating asset values.

Trump's demeanor in the video ranged from smirking and pouting to animated moments where he dismissed the case's legitimacy.

He insisted that banks involved suffered no harm, having been paid in his deals, and asserted that they had no complaints.

Trump's arguments

Trump contended that the entire case was "crazy," especially since, according to him, banks made money and were satisfied.

One key argument presented by Trump was his belief that financial statements should not be taken seriously, claiming they were mainly for his use.

He conceded that some institutions asked for them but insisted that it didn't matter if they were accurate because they came with a disclaimer. Trump maintained that people doing business with him were warned not to trust the statements.

The election

The video also captured Trump's assertions about the importance of his election, claiming that it prevented a nuclear holocaust.

He considered his presidency as the "most important job in the world," emphasizing that millions of lives were at stake due to global issues like the North Korean nuclear threat.

In a lively moment, Trump urged his questioners to look out the window at his 40 Wall Street office tower, just across from James's office where the deposition took place. Trump gestured towards the building, claiming it was doing well financially.

The release of the deposition video provides a new glimpse of Trump as a witness, offering insight into his responses, arguments, and overall demeanor during the legal proceedings. The trial, overseen by Judge Arthur Engoron without a jury, continues to push fraud allegations against Trump that could threaten his comeback bid for the White House in November.

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