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“Don’t take anything from this statement for granted:” Trump’s attorney are hopeful that his disclaimer notice will absolve him  from any alleged wrongdoing.

Former US President Donald Trump faces an uphill judicial battle following Judge Engoron’s pretrial partial summary judgment ruling, pointing out Trump’s liability for using fraudulent statements in conducting business.

While nearly halfway testifying in his civil fraud trial last month Trump requested to read a folded note he took from his pocket

“I would love to read this, Your Honor, if I could. Am I allowed to do that?” Trump asked the judge, waiving the folded note in the air. Judge Arthur Engoron responded, to Trump’s apparent irritation.

The note was about the disclaimer clauses in his statements of financial condition and it has underpinned his defense in a case where he and his sons stand accused of defrauding lenders and enriching themselves by roughly $375 million.

After being denied, Trump said, “I am sure the judge will rule against me, because he always rules against me,” adding on social media that Engoron will likely find him “guilty as hell.”

But Trump’s team have thrown their defence behind Trump’s ‘worthless clause’ section of his financial statements — “It says, very strongly, ‘Do your own due diligence. Do your own work. Do your own study. Don’t take anything from this statement for granted.”

Trump’s lawyers have expressed the disclaimer in an attempt to insulate Trump from alleged wrongdoing, since he warned his lenders that the statements might be incorrect — and a popular argument among defense experts.

However, Engoron has generally been dismissive of Trump’s disclaimer argument, according to his partial summary judgment, “Defendants’ reliance on these ‘worthless’ disclaimers is worthless. The clause does not use the words ‘worthless’ or ‘useless’ or ‘ignore’ or ‘disregard’ or any similar words,” Engoron wrote.

No evidence’ of a conspiracy
Trump’s lawyers have argued that state attorneys have failed to prove their allegation that the former president engaged in a conspiracy to inflate his net worth.

“There is no evidence in the record of agreement to support the conspiracy claims,” Trump’s attorney argued.

Defense lawyers highlighted that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, the state’s main witness who claimed Trump directed him to inflate his net worth, cannot be trusted due to his history of false testimony.

“He was caught lying like no one has ever lied. It was better than a Perry Mason moment, and that should be the end of the case,” Trump said after defense lawyers Alina Habba and Clifford Robert cross-examined Cohen.

Patrick Birney, a Trump Organization vice president, also testified that he received direction from then-CFO Allen Weisselberg to increase Trump’s net worth — but when he was recalled as a defense witness, Birney clarified that he never increased the values in Trump’s financial statement without having evidence to support the change.

‘Happy’ bankers
A central pillar of Trump’s defense has been the claim that his lenders were happy to do business with the former president, despite his allegedly inflated valuations.

Former Deutsche Bank managing director Rosemary Vrablic testified that the bank was eager to get Trump’s business, courting him in order to earn millions in interest and fees from his loans. Defense expert Robert Unell testified that even if Trump’s net worth was a fraction of what he claimed, he would have still qualified for his loans.

Unell added that the bank’s internal valuation group determined that Trump overstated his net worth by roughly $2.4 billion when they decided to offer him loans — suggesting that whatever inflated valuations that existed were not relevant to lenders.

Engoron, however, cast doubt on the viability of that argument, suggesting that pleasing his lenders does not clear Trump of wrongdoing.

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