Trump fraud trial live updates: Defense to scrutinize Deutsche Bank’s due diligence


(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.

Trump, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate Trump’s net worth while lowering his tax burden. The former president has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have argued that Trump’s alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 12, 8:44 AM EDT
Defense to scrutinize Deutsche Bank’s due diligence

Trump attorney Jesus Suarez will continue his cross examination of former Deutsche Bank risk management executive Nicholas Haigh when Trump’s civil trial resumes this morning.

Deutsche Bank was the Trump Organization’s largest single lender between 2011 and 2022, loaning the former president upwards of $300 million through the bank’s private wealth management division.

Describing himself as an “ultimate decider” of the loans’ riskiness, Haigh testified Wednesday that his decision-making process relied on Trump’s financial statements — documents that the New York attorney general alleges were fraudulent.

“I assumed that the representations of the assets and liabilities were broadly accurate,” Haigh said yesterday.

Earlier witnesses have testified about how Trump’s financial documents were drafted, finalized, and sent to banks — but Haigh is the first witness to testify from the perspective of the banks, which the attorney general says were allegedly deceived by Trump’s inflated financial statements.

Suarez, during his first hour cross examining Haigh on Wednesday, said Deutsche Bank was a sophisticated company that profited from the loans.

Haigh also acknowledged that the bank failed to conduct its own independent appraisals of Trump’s top properties, and did not rigorously examine his financial information.

Oct 11, 5:54 PM EDT
Trump’s business drew little scrutiny from bank, defense says

Deutsche Bank was a serious company in business with Donald Trump to make money, defense attorney Jesus Suarez said during his cross examination of former Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh.

At the height of its relationship with the Trump Organization, the company loaned Trump over $378 million and failed to commission independent appraisals of Trump’s properties, Haigh acknowledged. While the bank listed lower estimates for the value of Trump’s assets year after year, it continued to do business with Trump and his company.

“We … the bank hadn’t done all the due diligence one would do in the sense of the opinion of value you see in an appraisal,” Haigh said, at one point agreeing with the defense’s characterization that the bank’s internal value services group conducted “sanity checks” on the numbers.

The direct examination of Haigh by state attorney Kevin Wallace also left a central question about Deutsche Bank’s activity unanswered.

In a letter to the court and in previous arguments, lawyers for the attorney general suggested that Haigh might have turned away Trump’s business if he had known that Trump’s assets were inflated in value.

“As this Court noted during summary judgment arguments, Mr. Haigh testified during OAG’s investigation that he may not have authorized lending to the borrower if he had at that time been aware of the inflated asset values contained in Mr. Trump’s SFCs [statements of financial condition],” a lawyer for the attorney general wrote to the court in a letter last week.

Wallace never directly posed the hypothetical to Haigh during his direct examination, leaving the question unresolved.

Court subsequently adjourned for the day, with Suarez telling the court he plans to continue his cross examination of Haigh through Thursday afternoon.

Oct 11, 4:06 PM EDT
Bank wouldn’t extend Trump credit to buy Buffalo Bills, exec says

Former president Donald Trump and his company bid $1 billion in 2014 in an attempt to purchase the Buffalo Bills football team.

The only problem was that Trump needed a bank to help finance his bid.

Former Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified that when Trump turned to his bank for help, bank executives declined, fearing it would increase their financial exposure to Trump.

“Deutsche Bank was not willing to increase its credit exposure to Donald Trump at that time,” Haigh said.

But the bank was still willing to help Trump by sending a letter to support his bid, according to Haigh — on the condition that Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney certify that the company was still in compliance with the covenants of the three outstanding loans the bank had given Trump.

McConney verified that Trump had over $300 million in liquid assets in 2014, and that it suffered no material decrease in the value of his illiquid assets, according to a document entered into evidence today.

With that verification, Deutsche Bank issued a letter that Trump had the “financial wherewithal” to fund his bid.

Trump’s effort to purchase the Bills was ultimately unsuccessful.

Following this line of questioning, state attorney Kevin Wallace concluded his direct examination of Haigh. But he never asked Haigh if he would have approved Trump’s loans had he known about the inflated assets alleged by the attorney general.

In a letter to the court and in previous arguments, lawyers for the attorney general had suggested that the hypothetical question would be a central element of Haigh’s testimony.

Oct 11, 1:58 PM EDT
Trump had to maintain $2.5B net worth for loan, banker says

When Donald Trump negotiated a $125 million loan from Deutsche Bank related to his Trump National Doral golf club, the former president agreed to maintain a minimum net worth of $2.5 billion as a condition of the loan, former bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified.

The loan memorandum prepared by Deutsche Bank included a covenant that the “Guarantor shall maintain a minimum net worth of $2.5 billion excluding any value related to the Guarantor’s brand value,” according to a document marked as evidence today.

The New York attorney general alleges that Trump’s actual net worth at the time of the loan agreement was only $1.5 billion, an amount that would have triggered a default.

Retired Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh testified that he was involved in the decision to set the $2.5 billion figure, which he believed would protect the bank from exposure if the property failed or the broader market declined.

“It was set in order to make sure the bank was fully protected under adverse market conditions,” Haigh testified.

To calculate Trump’s net worth, Deutsche Bank looked at what Haigh described as Trump’s four “trophy properties,” all in Manhattan: Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street, Trump Park Avenue, and Niketown — a ground lease for a property adjoining Trump Tower.

Since the properties themselves were not provided as collateral for the loan, Deutsche Bank did not commission independent appraisals for the properties, and instead used a modified version of Trump’s own numbers.

“The bank normally only commissions appraisals on assets taken as collateral,” Haigh said.

Deutsche Bank adjusted their assessment in 2012, when they learned of a separate appraisal of Trump Tower that offered a lower value of the property than what Trump had provided.

“The bank felt that it had an independent view on the value of the asset,” Haigh said of the appraisal that prompted his bank to lower their value for Trump Tower from $1.2 billion to $992 million.

Oct 11, 11:59 AM EDT
Bank relied on Trump’s financial statement to secure loan

Deutsche Bank relied on the strength of Donald Trump’s “financial profile” when deciding to loan the former president roughly $125 million related to the purchase of the Trump National Doral golf club in 2011, according to retired Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh.

Haigh testified that because Trump used the golf course and spa as collateral — relatively “unusual” assets that Deutsche Bank would struggle to sell in the event of a foreclosure — the bank leaned on the strength of Trump’s larger portfolio.

“[Trump] is guaranteeing he will repay our loan — all the money due on the loan,” Haigh said about the terms of the loan. “He is also guaranteeing if the result is losing money, he will pay the cost of that shortfall.”

Haigh said that he personally reviewed Trump’s statement of financial condition when determining whether to sign off on the loan.

“My conclusion was the client owned a lot of real estate, which was not surprising,” Haigh said about his findings after reading Trump’s financial statement.

Previous witnesses in the trial have offered insights into how Trump’s annual financial statement was drafted, finalized, and provided to banks to fulfill loan obligations. Haigh is the first witness to testify from the perspective of the banks, which considered the statements when deciding whether to do business with Trump.

Oct 11, 10:56 AM EDT
‘Nobody forgot to check off a box,’ judge says about lack of jury

Responding to lingering questions about the lack of a jury at the ongoing civil trial, Judge Engoron stated on the record that Trump would not have been entitled to a jury trial.

“We are having a non-jury trial because we are hearing a non-jury case,” Engoron said, dispelling claims that the trial lacks a jury because Trump’s lawyers simply forgot to check off a box or file a motion.

“It would have not helped to make a motion. Nobody forgot to check off a box,” Engoron said.

During her opening statement, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said the former president would have preferred a jury trial, and Trump himself has made multiple posts on his Truth Social platform about the alleged injustice stemming from the lack of a jury.

“The AG checked off non-jury, and there was no motion for a jury,” Engoron said about the process in Trump’s case — but he added that if a motion for a jury trial had been filed, he would have rejected it because the attorney general asked for “equitable” relief, which does not entitle participants to a jury trial.

“I would like to say thank you, your honor,” Habba said about the clarification.

Oct 11, 10:36 AM EDT
New York AG not attending trial today

New York Attorney General Letitia James is absent from the courtroom this morning.

James attended the first six days of the trial, which started last Monday.

Former President Trump and Trump Organization VP Eric Trump both attended the first three days of the trial.

Oct 11, 9:39 AM EDT
Bank exec told AG he was unaware of inflated valuations

While the Trump Organization’s relationship with Deutsche Bank goes back 30 years, the attorney general alleges in her complaint that in 2011, Trump began doing business with the private wealth managers at the bank, rather than bankers who specialized in commercial real estate.

“In essence, rather than obtain credit facilities through the wing of Deutsche Bank with an expertise in commercial real estate, Mr. Trump began to seek funds from a wing of Deutsche Bank focused on servicing ultrawealthy clients,” the attorney general’s complaint said. “Hence, Mr. Trump’s personal guaranty, and his representations regarding his finances that backed up that guaranty, featured prominently in Mr. Trump’s loan transactions through the [private wealth management] wing of Deutsche Bank.”

During the attorney general’s investigation, Deutsche Bank credit risk executive Nicholas Haigh told investigators that he “may not have authorized” Trump’s loans if he was aware of the inflated values in Trump’s financial statements, according to a letter the state submitted to the court.

Oct 11, 9:04 AM EDT
Deutsche Bank executive set to take stand

Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial is set to resume this morning with the testimony of Nicholas Haigh, a credit risk executive who worked at Deutsche Bank when it issued loans to the former president.

Deutsche Bank was the largest single lender to the Trump Organization between 2011 and 2022, according to the New York attorney general.

Owing approximately $340 million to the bank at one point, the Trump Organization used Deutsche Bank to secure favorable loans related to its purchase of the Old Post Office Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, and Trump National Doral golf club in Florida, according to the AG’s complaint.

Oct 10, 5:23 PM EDT
Ex-CFO can’t say who OK’d statements after Trump became president

Ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg, who testified earlier Tuesday that Trump approved his financial statements before they were finalized during the years between 2011 and 2016, was unable to recall who approved financial statements after Trump was elected president in 2016.

While he recalled discussing some elements of the statements with Trump Organization VP Eric Trump, he declined to say that either Eric or VP Don Jr. had final say regarding the statements.

Court then adjourned for the day.

Court is set to resume Wednesday morning with the testimony of Deutsche Bank risk manager Nicholas Haigh, who is testifying early due to a scheduling conflict.

Weisselberg is scheduled to return to the witness stand later Wednesday.

Oct 10, 4:40 PM EDT
Ex-CFO OK’d financial documents used to prevent loan default

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg testified that he certified that Trump’s financial statements were “true, correct and complete” so the documents could be provided to lenders to prevent a breach of contract resulting in a loan default.

“Please see the attached report required per our loan documents, for the above referenced loan,” a Trump Organization employee would write to lenders like Wells Fargo, according to examples entered into evidence.

The employee would include a certification, signed by Weisselberg, attesting to the accuracy of Trump’s financial documents.

“Did you understand that if you failed to provide this, the Trump organization would be in breach of its obligations under the loan agreement?” state attorney Louis Solomon asked Weisselberg for each email.

“Yes,” Weisselberg replied.

Oct 10, 3:37 PM EDT
Weisselberg says Trump signed off on financial statements

Donald Trump would approve his financial statements before they were finalized between 2011 and 2016, ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg testified.

Weisselberg said that Trump often had feedback about the notes sections of the statements, which contained more detailed descriptions of Trump’s properties.

“‘Don’t use the word beautiful. Use the word magnificent,"” Weisselberg offered as an example of the kind of feedback Trump would provide.

Earlier Tuesday, Weisselberg testified that he did not meet with Trump or attorney Michael Cohen to review the statements. Returning to the topic after the lunch break, Weisselberg described Trump’s final review of the document as a regular occurrence before he became president.

“Did you ever send it to the Mazars [accountants] … as a final version before Mr. Trump signed off on it?” state attorney Louis Solomon asked.

“Not that I can remember, no,” Weisselberg said.

Oct 10, 2:18 PM EDT
Ex-CFO suggested 30% ‘brand premium’ for golf course valuations

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg explained the Trump Organization’s process for valuing its marquee properties as a complicated, months-long process during which the firm’s controller, Jeffrey McConney, would reach out to appraisers and brokers to better determine their value.

“This took months to prepare. It was not a simple task,” Weisselberg said, adding that he reviewed McConney’s final product at a “30,000-foot level.”

But Weisselberg acknowledged that he often intervened in the process to push McConney in a certain direction.

In one example, Weisselberg testified that he suggested McConney add a 30% brand premium for seven of Trump’s golf courses — adding tens of millions of dollars in value without disclosing the reasoning.

“Was the 30% premium you directed Mr. McConney to add to the fixed assets disclosed in the statement of financial condition?” Solomon asked.

“No,” Weisselberg said.

During a later portion of his direct examination, Weisselberg testified he sent Trump Organization employee Patrick Birney — who took over handling Trump’s financial statements from McConney — a newspaper clipping about a nearby Palm Beach property in order to support the valuation of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.

“Patrick — hold for next year DJT f/s, Let’s see what it ends up selling for,” a handwritten note from Weisselberg on the clipping said.

Weisselberg acknowledged his hesitancy to use that property’s asking price to help value Mar-a-Lago.

“Anyone can ask anything for a dollar amount. Doesn’t mean it’s going to sell,” Weisselberg said.

Oct 10, 2:01 PM EDT
Ex-CFO acknowledges firm’s fundamental failures of responsibility

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg acknowledged under questioning that the Trump Organization failed to fulfill some of the basic promises detailed in letters between the firm and its external accountant, Mazars USA.

“Do you believe the Trump Organization fulfilled that fundamental responsibility?” state attorney Solomon asked Weisselberg regarding a 2017 letter from Mazars that outlined the Trump Organization’s responsibility to select the accounting principles used in financial statements.

“No,” Weisselberg responded.

Asked about a separate letter outlining the Trump Organization’s responsibility to comply with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, Weisselberg initially suggested that the Trump Organization fully relied on Mazars to comply with the accounting standards.

“We relied on Mazars to understand GAAP,” Weisselberg said.

“You were relying on Mazars to make a representation back to Mazars?” Solomon said, prompting Weisselberg to reverse his statement.

When questioned about the seemingly boilerplate accounting obligations to which the Trump Organization agreed, Weisselberg appeared to struggle to articulate who at the Trump Organization fulfilled the basic responsibilities as outlined.

Oct 10, 1:21 PM EDT
Weisselberg denies discussing financial statements with Trump

After initially evading the state’s question, ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg denied that he ever met with Trump to discuss his financial statements.

“Did you ever meet with Donald Trump or Michael Cohen where there was discussion of the statement of financial condition before it was finalized?” state attorney Louis Solomon asked.

Weisselberg initially responded that he did not recall such a meeting happening, before answering more definitively.

“No. I don’t believe it happened,” Weisselberg said.

Judge Engoron, appearing skeptical of the answer, asked Weisselberg to confirm.

“Could it have happened, and you just don’t remember?” Engoron asked.

“I am saying it did not happen,” Weisselberg responded.

The attorney general’s opening statement for the case included a portion of the deposition of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who claimed that Trump met with him and Weisselberg to direct them to increase his net worth, in order “to be higher on the Forbes list” of billionaires.

“Allen and I were tasked with taking the assets, increasing each of those asset classes in order to accommodate that eight-billion-dollar number [Trump requested],” Cohen said in the deposition.

Oct 10, 11:55 AM EDT
Weisselberg concedes Trump’s triplex is smaller than valuation

Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg testified that Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower is 10,996 square feet — which is a third the size that Trump claimed on financial documents.

In October 1994, Trump signed a document that certified his penthouse triplex is 10,996 square feet, but his statements of financial condition for several years beginning in 2012 listed the apartment as 30,000 square feet.

An attorney with the New York attorney general’s office showed the page with Trump’s signature to Weisselberg, who appeared to struggle to explain the discrepancy.

“It was always in my mind a de minimis asset on the statement of financial condition,” Weisselberg said. “I never even thought about the apartment.”

Louis Solomon of the attorney general’s office confronted Weisselberg with emails from Forbes magazine seeking clarity about the apartment’s size, as well as a letter signed by Weisselberg certifying the 30,000 square foot figure to the Trump Organization’s then-accountant, Mazars USA.

Weisselberg offered a lengthy take on the discrepancy, prompting Judge Arthur Engoron to intercede.

“Your role is to answer the questions, not to give speeches. Please just answer the questions,” Engoron said.

“Forbes was right, the triplex was actually only 10,996, right?” Solomon asked.

“Right,” Weisselberg finally conceded.

“I’ve been through quite a bit the last two years,” Weisselberg said at one point during the morning’s questioning. The former CFO moved to Florida following three months in jail after he pleaded guilty last year to criminal fraud charges and subsequently testified against the Trump Organization.

Oct 10, 9:47 AM EDT
Weisselberg to be questioned about valuations

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg is expected to face questions this morning about his work valuing properties like Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower and Trump’s 40 Wall Street building, as well as the Trump Organization’s efforts to secure loans from banks and Weisselberg’s direct conversations with the former president.

Weisselberg is the second named defendant to testify in the ongoing civil trial.

Trump Organization controller and co-defendant Jeffrey McConney, who concluded his testimony on Friday, was deemed a hostile witness by Judge Arthur Engoron, giving the state more latitude in their questions.

Oct 10, 9:08 AM EDT
Ex-CFO Weisselberg last year pled guilty to tax fraud

Ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s expected testimony this morning comes six months after he was released from New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex after pleading guilty last year to 15 felony charges related to a long-running scheme to avoid $1.7 million in taxes while working for the Trump Organization.

As a condition of his plea deal, Weisselberg testified last year in the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal trial of the Trump Organization itself.

“Are you embarrassed about what you did?” Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas asked Weisselberg during the criminal trial last November.

“More than you can imagine,” replied Weisselberg, who testified that Trump himself was unaware of his tax evasion scheme.

The Trump Organization was convicted and later paid a $1.6 million fine imposed by the judge overseeing the case.

Oct 10, 8:22 AM EDT
Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg expected to take stand

Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is expected to testify when former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud resumes this morning.

A named defendant in the case alongside Trump and his adult sons, Weisselberg allegedly supervised and approved the inflated valuations in Trump’s financial statements at the center of the state’s case, according to prosecutors.

He’s also alleged to have personally met with the former president each year between 2011 and 2016 to review and get approval for the fraudulent financial statements.

“Mr. Trump made known through Mr. Weisselberg that he wanted his net worth on the Statements to increase — a desire Mr. Weisselberg and others carried out year after year in their fraudulent preparation of the Statements,” New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in her initial complaint.

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