Donald Trump Rages Outside Fraud Trial; Why What He Said Is Wrong


  • Donald Trump is back speaking to reporters in the hallway outside his New York City fraud trial.
  • He raged against the judge and insulted the state’s attorney general.
  • Here’s why pretty much everything he said Thursday morning was wrong.

Donald Trump is back, in person, at his $250 million civil fraud trial in New York, where state Attorney General Letitia James hopes a judge will fine him at least $250 million for what a judge has already found were a decade’s worth of bogus financial statements.

As usual when he visits the trial, Trump made a couple of speeches. And as usual, almost everything he said, beyond “Thank you very much, everybody,” does not stand up to even the most basic fact-checking.

Here is Business Insider’s point-by-point look at what he told reporters outside the trial on Thursday morning.

The case is a ‘witch hunt’

“Thank you very much everybody. We appreciate you being here. This is a witch hunt the likes of which probably nobody has ever seen.
“We’ve put on a case that is absolutely 100 percent – There’s not a judge in the country that wouldn’t have given us a total victory but there’s not a judge in the country that would have even taken this case. This is a witch hunt and it’s a very corrupt trial.”

Trump’s cries of “bias” and “witch hunt” stretch back to the start of James’ four-year pursuit of the former president. At one point, his lawyers compiled an 11-page spreadsheet of her anti-Trump statements. New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, the judge in the ongoing trial, has repeatedly slapped down Trump’s claims that James, a Democrat, is out to get the leader of the Republican Party. At one point he said the evidence against Trump could fill the courtroom.

We already “won” in the appellate courts

“We won this case. We won this case at the appellate division. Most of it. It covers about 90% of the case. We won this case at the appellate division. And this judge refuses to acknowledge the appellate division.
“He said very specifically, ‘We’re going forward.’ Because there’s something wrong here” [Trump motions to his head and spins his finger].

The June 27, 2023, appellate decision that Trump referred to actually denied Trump’s motion to dismiss, in its entirety, the attorney general’s massive lawsuit, which is the trial’s underlying case.

The only win for Trump’s side was that the appellate judges removed all alleged frauds committed prior to 2014 and, in some instances, prior to 2016, saying they were too old under the state’s statute of limitations.

Really, though, I “won”

“We won this case — remember this. Just put it in your heads — this case was won at the appellate division and the judge refuses to do what the appellate division demands he do. Nobody’s ever seen anything like this.
“When you win at the appellate division, that’s your high court. The judge has to be bound by what their decision is. But we won at the appellate division.”

Again, according to New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, no.

OK, I won about “90%'”

“Part of that victory was Ivanka not having to put herself through this. And they ruled that. But the bigger part of it was about 90% — because of statute of limitations — about 90% of the case disappears. So remember this: we won the case at the appellate division, the high court, and this judge refuses to acknowledge that victory or that demand. And that’s very serious.
“So we’re going in now, we have an expert witness, one of the great experts in the country and I hope you’ll all be able to listen to him. But it’ll just be another day.”

There is no 90% win for Trump’s side. The January appellate decision actually left the entirety of the state’s fraud claims in place with the sole exception of removing Ivanka Trump as a defendant, in a nod to her having left the Trump Organization after the 2016 election, to work for her father’s administration.

Donald Trump talks to reporters outside the New York City courtroom where his fraud trial is being held.

Donald Trump talks to reporters outside the New York City courtroom where his fraud trial is being held.

Timothy A Clary/Getty Images

The banks “love us” and there are “no victims”

“If you look at the case, we did nothing wrong, there were no victims, the bank loves us, the bank testified they love us. We did absolutely nothing wrong. We never even defaulted, we never had a default letter sent to us. The bank said we were a perfect customer. The bank didn’t even know why they were here.”

It is true that Trump never defaulted on the loans in question, and that he never missed a payment or even paid late, according to testimony by the state’s own witness.

But the attorney general and Engoron have said that this is beside the point because you can’t lie to banks in financial documents, period.

And there are still victims, the state alleges.

In relying on Trump’s exaggerations, Deutsche Bank lost out on $168 million in interest payments between 2014 and 2023, they allege.

“Trump’s crimes are not victimless,” James told reporters a year ago. “When the well-connected and powerful break the law to get more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, small businesses, and taxpayers.”

Letitia James lets people get murdered “all over the streets”

“And yet your people are being murdered outside — all over the streets, they’re being murdered. There’s violent crime — and yet this attorney general — who’s crazed. She’s a lunatic.”

“Lunatic” is one of Trump’s most frequent James insults, including during the trial’s third week, when he claimed “people” have recorded her “ranting and raving like a lunatic.”  Other favorite insults for James include “racist” and, strangely, “Peek-a-boo.”

As for letting people get murdered, overall crime, and especially violent crime, is actually down in New York City, according to NYPD statistics. Looking at the first half of 2023, shootings are down 24.7 percent over the first half of 2022, the NYPD said July.

The judge “ruled against me” before the case even started

“The attorney general sits here because she knows that she has a judge that no matter all the evidence that judge is going to rule in her favor. He ruled against me before the case even started. The case hadn’t started, he knew nothing, and he ruled against me.”

Trump is referring to Engoron’s pre-trial ruling, from late September, which was based on the record of more than two years of pretrial litigation that he personally presided over.

The ruling found Trump inflated his worth to banks and insurers by at least $2 billion a year in each of a decade’s worth of annual financial statements.   

The judge said Mar-a-Lago estate was only worth $18 million

“The other thing is this: He valued Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, because that was needed for her case, at a value of $18 million, when in fact it’s worth anywhere from 50 to 100 times that amount. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”
“But just remember what I said at the beginning: We won at the appellate division and this judge refuses to honor that victory or that decision or that demand.”

This has been one of Trump’s most frequently repeated misstatements concerning the judge and the fraud trial. In fact, the judge never valued Mar-a-Lago at $18 million. The judge has, though, referred to prior assessments of the property by Palm Beach officials that ranged from $18 million to $27.6 million between 2011 and 2021. 

The AG’s office says that Trump lied to banks by claiming Mar-a-Lago is worth anywhere from $347 million to as much as $739 million in a decade of personal net-worth statements. On Tuesday, a Trump expert testified that Mar-a-Lago is worth more than $1 billion – and he invited the AG and judge to visit in person and see for themselves.


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