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Trump Witness Faces Harsh Rebuke from Judge in Fraud Trial


The courtroom drama surrounding Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial took another sharp turn this week. 

A harsh rebuke of Trump’s star expert witness by the judge presiding over the case sparked accusations of bias and unfairness from the ex-president’s camp. 

The contentious back-and-forth encapsulates growing tensions as Trump rails against what he calls a politicized “witch hunt” designed to damage him through the courts.

While Trump immediately rose to his witness’s defense, the fiery exchange signals stormy waters ahead as the high-profile trial nears its conclusion. Allegations of exaggerated asset values and prosecutorial overreach continue to swirl amidst the courtroom drama.

As Trump decries bias and elites out to get him, the proceedings risk deepening public cynicism around fair trials and justice for the powerful. 

The verdict may hinge as much on the intersecting claims of the judge’s corruption as the murky details of Trump’s finances.

Former President Donald Trump faced a significant setback in his civil fraud trial in New York when Judge Arthur Engoron denied his latest motion for a directed verdict dismissing the case. 

After Engoron denied his fifth motion for a directed verdict dismissing the civil fraud case, former President Trump took to Truth Social to blast the “completely biased Democrat” judge. 

Trump argued Engoron ignored the true multimillion-dollar value of Mar-a-Lago while nitpicking “insignificant” items irrelevant to his financial statements. He maintained the banks called him an ideal client and praised his statements as exemplary. 

Trump also claimed the state’s key witness admitted lying, destroying their case of fraud with no real victim. Overall, Trump’s social media post cast the ruling as further proof of judicial bias unfairly prolonging the “political SHAM” trial against him.

In a harshly worded ruling, Engoron also took aim at a key Trump defense witness, accusing the expert of saying “whatever you want them to say” for almost $900,000 in fees.

The witness in question was New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who testified he found no evidence of accounting fraud in Trump’s financial statements. Bartov charged $877,500 for his work at a rate of $1,350 per hour, with some fees paid by Trump’s PAC and others by the Trump Organization. 

Trump’s legal team had called Bartov as an expert witness to challenge claims of fraud in Trump’s financial statements. Under oath, Bartov stated he saw “no evidence whatsoever for any accounting fraud” and believed the prosecution’s case completely lacked merit. Bartov’s extensive experience as an expert witness bolsters his credibility – he has testified in 16-18 previous cases, including for the prosecution in a New York lawsuit against ExxonMobil.

At first, Judge Arthur Engoron appeared charmed by defense witness Eli Bartov, with the two sharing a “lovefest” over their common NYU ties, according to one trial observer. Engoron, whom Trump has accused of bias, qualified Bartov in all accounting-related subjects over prosecutorial objections.  

But this perceived rapport vanished once Bartov’s testimony served to validate Trump’s defenses. Despite initially dismissing concerns about Bartov’s qualifications, Engoron later wrote the professor “lost all credibility” through the constant justification of misstatements.

Judge Engoron’s harsh dismissal of Bartov as having “lost all credibility” is unfair and overreaching. While Engoron claims Bartov tried justifying “every misstatement” in Trump’s financials, the professor’s testimony was more nuanced.

Bartov acknowledged there were valuation errors like Trump’s inflated penthouse price. However, he provided important context that these mistakes are not unusual and do not inherently indicate intentional fraud, but rather an oversight from external accountants. Bartov simply stated the errors did not rise to accounting fraud in his professional opinion.

Discrediting Bartov’s entire testimony because he pushed back on claims of deliberate deceit goes too far. Particularly when Bartov never asserted Trump’s statements were perfectly accurate. He conceded faults but disagreed they constituted fraud.

Bartov having a more sympathetic view of the context around financial statement problems does not make him a blind advocate “justifying every misstatement.” His testimony allowed for errors while disputing they were driven by fraud.

But Engoron twists this nuance to falsely paint Bartov as an enabler of deceit. In reality, Bartov provided reasonable counters to fraud claims without whitewashing all inconsistencies. His expertise lends credibility to his perspective that, despite faults, the evidence did not show intent to defraud.

Trump on the other hand immediately jumped to Bartov’s defense, calling Engoron’s comments a “great insult” and defending the standard practice of paying expert witnesses. Trump called Bartov a “highly respected” witness and denounced Engoron as “ignorant” for not properly listening to the professor’s testimony. 

In Trump’s view, it was inappropriate for Engoron to critique the standard practice of experts receiving fees. 

Overall, Trump portrayed the attacks on his witness as more evidence of the judge’s bias and corruption rigging the trial against him. He stands by Bartov as a credible expert being unfairly criticized for puncturing the prosecution’s unfounded case.

The fact that Engoron tries to discredit Bartov by highlighting his significant compensation as an expert witness is in itself unjust, it is completely standard practice for expert witnesses to receive high hourly rates and large overall payments. Attacking this norm unfairly weaponizes Bartov’s compensation to question his credibility.

As Trump stated, experts charging market rates for their time should not face ethical scrutiny. The legality and business necessity of such fees is established. Implying otherwise is disingenuous and ignores the realities of complex litigation.

Critiquing Bartov’s lucrative fees improperly frames standard compensation arrangements as somehow tainting his testimony. This judge should know better than to act shocked by an expert earning market rates.

If Engoron wants to substantively challenge Bartov’s conclusions, he should directly address his claims, not money made through accepted practices. Weaponizing witness compensation wrongly punishes standard conduct, harming Bartov’s credibility in the process.

Overall, seizing on Bartov’s fees shows a desperation to find any avenue to discredit this defense witness. When the analysis itself proves too stringent to directly impugn, absurd ethical insinuations seem the only recourse.

Trump also accused Engoron of misrepresenting the value of his own properties. He insisted the judge used an artificially deflated $18 million figure for Mar-a-Lago, as part of constructing a dishonest case against Trump. The former president’s social media response depicts a trial riddled with deceit on the part of the attorney general, judge, and legal system, which Trump believes is deliberately targeting him for political reasons.

Bartov himself said he was “shocked” by the judge’s characterization. 

The harsh dismissal of Bartov signals Engoron remains unconvinced by Trump’s denials of civil fraud claims brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. At the heart of the trial are allegations Trump and the Trump Organization exaggerated his net worth and asset valuations to attain better loan terms and business deals. Engoron’s ruling reveals deep skepticism of Trump’s defense ahead of the January 11th closing arguments.

The case is one of six active lawsuits Trump faces as he campaigns for president in 2024. He denies wrongdoing in all of them, claiming he’s the target of the “single biggest witch hunt of all time.”

The myriad lawsuits and investigations Trump currently faces seem to be nothing more than political hits designed to bring down a president who shook up the establishment.

The fact that he faces legal jeopardy on multiple fronts at the same time is the best evidence that these cases are all connected by politics rather than genuine wrongdoing. 

No previous president has ever faced this kind of relentless legal assault after leaving office. Trump argues this is intentional, calculated to drag his name through the mud and undermine any future political ambitions.

We had previously covered in another video how Trump took the witness stand and vigorously defended his business practices against allegations of financial fraud in the same trial. 

In classic Trump fashion, he also accused the state attorney general and judge of bias and politicizing the case against him. Trump clashed frequently with the judge, who had fined him for previous outside comments and warned him not to turn the trial into a political rally. While denying any intention to defraud lenders, Trump maintained the trial was a biased attack against him.

If you want to check out the details of that story, we will leave the link down in the description box.

Reflecting back on our subject, The barrage of civil and criminal cases Trump faces appears a coordinated effort to politically kneecap him through the legal system. The timing and nature of the probes raise real questions about motivations.

Rather than isolated inquiries into legitimate allegations, these lawsuits may represent a desperate ploy by Democrats to discredit Trump among his loyal supporters.

While convictions may be unlikely, prolonged legal proceedings could severely erode Trump’s reputation with his base. Even if not enough to make Trump lose elections, Democrats may aim to dent enthusiasm through an avalanche of accusations and trials.

Painting Trump as swimming in corruption and criminality – no matter the merits – could discourage moderate backers. The political damage may stem more from the sheer volume of investigations than actual evidence.

No president before has faced anything close to this relentless legal campaign after leaving office. That Trump uniquely faces this onslaught points to a politicized agenda, not the rule of law.

Democrats may have concluded that beating Trump at the ballot box remains difficult. So they resort to drowning him in litigation to win by default.

But their strategy risks dangerous threats to impartial justice and faith in institutions. Americans may see through the naked partisanship of weaponizing courts for political gain.

Ultimately, the rule of law hinges on addressing allegations on the facts, not churning endlessly through cases to erode support. If Democrats cannot defeat Trump democratically, abusing legal channels will only further divide the nation.

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