What we’re covering here

  • Donald Trump and his former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen are face to face in a courtroom Tuesday as Cohen delivers testimony as part of the New York attorney general’s civil fraud case against the former president.
  • In the $250 million lawsuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges Trump and his co-defendants committed repeated fraud in inflating assets on financial statements to get better terms on commercial real estate loans and insurance policies. The case is civil, not criminal, but threatens Trump’s business in New York.
  • Trump is returning to the courtroom after he was fined $5,000 last week by Judge Arthur Engoron – and warned about possible imprisonment – for violating a gag order not to speak about any members of the court staff.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate Trump case, another one of his former campaign lawyers pleaded guilty for her efforts to help overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

Trump would say what he wanted his net worth to be — then statements would be manipulated to match, Cohen says

Donald Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen testified Tuesday he and former Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg would manipulate the statements of financial conditions, the documents at the center of the civil fraud trial, based on what Trump wanted his net worth to reflect.

Cohen testified that Trump would tell him and Weisselberg what he wanted his total net worth to be. Then Cohen and Weisselberg would reverse engineer the asset valuations in his statements of financial condition to achieve that number.

“I was tasked by Mr. Trump to increase the total assets based upon a number that he arbitrarily elected and my responsibility along with Allen Weisselberg predominantly was to reverse engineer the various different assets classes, increase those assets in order to achieve the number that Mr. Trump had tasked us.”

The net worth amount they’d back into on the statements was: “Whatever number Mr. Trump told us to,” Cohen said.

Weisselberg testified earlier at trial that he doesn’t remember any meetings with Cohen and Trump to discuss Trump’s net worth or financial statements.

“I don’t believe it ever happened, no,” the former CFO testified.

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