NEW YORK (AP) – In new public statementDonald Trump boasts of building a billion-dollar brand and saving “millions of lives” as president.
Arguing with the New York Attorney General, who is suing him for fraud, Letitia James says “the whole case is crazy” and accuses her staff of trying to trip him, as TV attorney Perry Mason told witnesses has done.
Trump gave a seven-hour affidavit in April Part of James’ lawsuitwhich accused the Republican and his company of defrauding banks, insurance companies and others with financial statements that inflated the value of assets and added more than $2 billion to his net worth in a few years.
Trump’s lawyers released a transcript of his testimony in a Flood of court filings on Wednesdayahead of a possible trial in October.
A “terrible thing”
Trump called James’ lawsuit a “horrible thing” and told her and her associates, “You don’t have a case.”
He insisted the banks, which she claims have come under pressure with high valuations, have not suffered any damage, have been paid for his dealings and “have no complaints to date”.
“You know the banks made a lot of money?” Trump asked. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever received a reminder and even during the Corona crisis, all the banks were paid. And yet you are probably suing on behalf of banks. It’s crazy. The whole case is insane.”
Banks “want to do business with me because I’m rich,” Trump told James. “But guess what, they’re scared of doing business because of you.”
Trump complained that New York authorities “spend all their time investigating me instead of stopping violent crime on the streets.”
“Now I have to come and justify myself to you,” Trump said.
Don’t take my word for it
Trump said he never felt his financial reports were “taken very seriously” and that people who did business with him were warned at length not to trust them.
Trump described the statements as “a pretty good set of qualities” rather than a true representation of their worth. He noted that some numbers are “estimates.”
Trump claimed the statements were primarily for his own use, but acknowledged that financial institutions sometimes asked for them.
Even then, he insisted that legally it didn’t matter whether they were correct or not, since they came with a disclaimer.
“I have a clause that says, ‘Don’t believe the statement.’ “Go out and do your own work,” Trump testified. “One should not believe what we say.”
what’s in a name 10 billion dollars
Trump estimated that his “brand” alone was worth “maybe $10 billion.”
He called it “the most valuable asset I have” and attributed his political success to the omnipresence of his name and personality.
“I became president because of the brand, okay,” Trump said. “I became president. I think it’s the hottest brand in the world.”
“Most important” job in the world
After Trump was elected, he transferred the Trump Organization to a trust overseen by his eldest son Donald Trump Jr. and longtime chief financial officer Weisselberg.
Trump claimed he did so not out of necessity, but because he wanted to be a “legitimate president” and avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Plus, Trump said, he’s busy solving the world’s problems – like stopping North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un from doing it launch a nuclear attack.
“I thought this was the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives,” Trump said. “I think there would be a nuclear holocaust if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think if I wasn’t elected there would be nuclear war. And I think if you want to know the truth, you could be having a nuclear war right now.”
Now let’s talk
Trump’s often garrulous testimony was a 180-degree turn from the approach he took when James summoned him for questioning in August 2022 — before her lawsuit or any of the four criminal cases against him were filed.
On that first statement, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions more than 400 times. Trump said he did so because he was certain politically motivated prosecutors would use his answers as the basis for criminal charges.
Until April, Trump has changed his mind and answered even simple questions in such detail that his interrogator, James’ deputy Kevin Wallace, suspected he was trying to bid time.
“Chris, we’ll be here until midnight when your client answers every question with an eight-minute speech,” he told one of Trump’s attorneys, Christopher Kise.
However, Trump seemed aware that there is a risk in continuing this way.
In the middle of one of his lengthy responses detailing the awesomeness of one of his golf courses, Trump said, “You’re going to let me go on hoping I’ll make a mistake.” And that’s fine. This is the state of affairs. PerryMason. Perry Mason.”
Trump testified in the Attorney General’s office in Manhattan, across from 40 Wall Street – a skyscraper with “The Trump Building” written in large, gold letters.
When asked how the building was doing financially, Trump replied, “Good. It’s right here. Would you like to see it?”
“I don’t think we’re allowed to open the windows,” Wallace said.
“Raise the curtain,” suggested Trump.
“Open the curtain, move on,” Trump said. “It’s right here. I was just looking out the window.”
“Can’t you open it?” Trump’s attorney, Clifford Robert, asked after a pause.
“I wouldn’t,” Wallace said.
“Beautiful” and “Incredible”
Trump demonstrated his flair for superlatives, uttering the words “beautiful” and “incredible” 15 times each, and “phenomenal” six times when describing his qualities.
Trump called his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland “one of the most iconic places in the world” and the renovated villas at his golf resort Doral near Miami “the most beautiful rooms you have ever seen”.
Trump described his 213 acre estate in Seven Springs north of New York City as “the largest house in New York State”.
Its golf courses in Aberdeen, Scotland? “Really amazing.” Jupiter, Florida? “An incredible facility.” Just outside of Los Angeles? “An incredible property…an incredible property…a phenomenal property right on the seafront.”
“I don’t want to sell any of these,” Trump testified. “But if I ever sold them — if I ever put some of these things up for sale — I’d get staggering numbers.”
He said he could get $1.5 billion for his Mar-a-Lago, Florida property and maybe $2.5 billion for Doral.
Trump suggested he could get “a fortune” from the Saudi-backed LIV golf league for the Turnberry course, a former British Open venue.
“There would be people who would do anything to have Doral. There are people who would do anything to own Turnberry or Mar-a-Lago or… Trump Tower or 40 Wall Street.”
Associated Press reporters Jennifer Peltz and David B. Caruso contributed to this report.