New York, Oct. 3 (EFE) – Donald Trump’s fraud trial entered its second day on Tuesday. Donald Bender, a former Trump Organization accountant, testified that the company hid relevant documents to prepare financial statements from him.
Bender, an accountant from Mazars, a firm hired for years by the Trump Organization, was the first witness called by the prosecution on Monday, and his testimony continued until Tuesday.
A few meters away, former President Trump, who once again appeared in court without being required, listened attentively to Bender’s testimony while sitting at the defense table next to his lawyer, Christopher Kise.
The second day of the fraud trial against Trump, his two eldest children, his company, and two partners, in which six counts of illegality are being settled and which will last about three months, generated fewer expectations than the first.
Inconsistencies and Objections
Bender admitted to prosecutor Kevin Wallace that the Trump Organization did not provide him with all the documents necessary to compile the company’s annual financial information, particularly real estate appraisals, even though he requested them.
This contradicts commitments in a document signed by CFO Allen Weisselberg and Vice President Donald Trump Jr., who served as Trump’s trust managers during his presidency.
The documents included a clause stating, “We have not knowingly withheld from you any financial records or related data that, in our judgment, would be relevant to your compilation.”
Bender said Monday that as the company’s accountant – between 2009 and 2018 – he generally prepared financial statements using the numbers he was given without verifying them.
On Tuesday, prosecutors presented an internal valuation of Trump Tower at $631 million.
When the prosecution asked if Mazars had verified that the $631 million valuation was correct, the witness gave ambiguous answers and eventually admitted that they had not.
The questioning generally focused on the contents of documents and spreadsheets. Still, it was interrupted by several defense objections, which the judge overruled, regarding the statute of limitations on the charges and the validity of the evidence used by the prosecution.
On Monday, Trump left the room, claiming that “80 percent” of the charges would be thrown out because they related to events before 2014.
I trust that you can relate the 2011 documents to something that happened later,” Judge Engoron had said on Monday. But on Tuesday morning, the judge told the former president he was wrong.
Movement during recess
Bender’s questioning ended around noon on Tuesday, after which the judge ordered a break for lunch before giving Trump’s defense their turn to question the witness.
However, the break was extended – without explanation – until a few hours before the end of the day.
Trump was less talkative with the press, but he again slammed the case, the prosecutor, and Judge Engoron, whom he attacked in a lengthy email sent by his campaign during recess, accusing the veteran judge of being a donor to the Democratic Party and “far left.”
He also published a message in Truth Social, later deleted, in which he romantically linked Engoron’s secretary (he gave her name) to a Democratic senator and accused her of carrying out political persecution against him, something that seemed to upset the judge greatly.
According to accredited media, the former president entered and left the courtroom several times during the recess, and parties appeared to meet with the judge behind closed doors.
Upon his return, Engoron denounced as “unacceptable and inappropriate” the “personal attacks” against his court staff and issued a “gag order” against “all parties” by which he could sanction future messages containing references to the workers. EFE