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Accountant’s Apparent Lies Further Dooms Trump’s Bank Fraud Defense

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s expected massive loss to the New York Attorney General in his bank fraud case suddenly took a turn for the worse on Tuesday, when lies that his longtime company accountant apparently told on the stand potentially opened the door for an even more devastating multi-million dollar judgment that could destroy the Trump Organization.

In an email to the AG and Trump defense team on Monday, Justice Arthur F. Engoron asked for both sides to respond to the news that former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is secretly negotiating a guilty plea with another law enforcement agency: the Manhattan District Attorney.

Last week, The New York Times reported that DA Alvin Bragg Jr. is coming down hard on Weisselberg for lying under oath to the AG’s office in an interview ahead of the three-month civil trial that just wrapped up.

“As the presiding magistrate, the trier of fact, and the judge of credibility, I of course want to know whether Mr. Weisselberg is now changing his tune, and whether he is admitting he lied under oath in my courtroom at this trial,” Engoron wrote.

Trump faces a huge financial penalty—perhaps a quarter billion dollars or more—for persistently lying to banks and insurance companies about his wealth. But while Engoron’s final order is expected in the coming days, the news that Weisselberg lied could harden the judge’s decision to punish Trump and wipe out a substantial portion of his net worth.

Importantly, the judge noted that Weisselberg’s lies could be used to completely toss out everything he said in defense of the company—and even allow the judge to make negative inferences about the Trump Organization’s fraudulent conduct.

“Although the Times article focuses on the size of the Trump Tower Penthouse, his testimony on other topics could also be called into question. I also may use this as a basis to invoke falsus in uno,” the judge wrote, referencing the maxim “false in one thing, false in everything.”

“I do not want to ignore anything in a case of this magnitude,” he warned.

Trump’s lawyers have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to respond.

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