REPORT: In Trump’s civil fraud trial, defense takes shape amid rising stakes

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The civil fraud trial of Donald Trump concluded its first week of defense testimony Friday, with Trump’s eldest son and a series of expert witnesses seeking to show that Trump is not liable for fraudulent overvaluations in his statements of financial condition that were sent to banks and insurance companies.

The defense case comes amid rising stakes for the former president. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump for $250 million, but as the trial has progressed her office has introduced testimony and documents that bring a potential disgorgement request closer to $400 million.

Donald Trump Jr., testifying at the start of the week, called his father a real estate “visionary” who “sees the sexiness in a real estate project,” which has created value for the family business that cannot be captured on paper.

“Estimated current value is not an exact science. There is not one single correct value that comes of this exercise,” defense expert Jason Flemmons, an accountant, said.

Flemmons testified that Trump’s statements of financial condition were not in line with generally accepted accounting standards, but they included disclaimers acknowledging that fact to lenders.

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