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Former Trump executive Allan Weisselberg testifies in the Trump civil trial

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A long-time lieutenant of Donald Trump's testified today in a New York courtroom. Allen Weisselberg is a former exec at The Trump Organization. He's also a defendant in an ongoing civil trial targeting Trump's business practices. As the second week of the trial begins, New York state lawyers are pressing witnesses over the inflated value of Trump's assets. NPR's Ximena Bustillo has the latest.

XIMENA BUSTILLO, BYLINE: The New York attorney general is accusing the former president and his associates, which includes his two eldest sons and Weisselberg, of knowingly inflating the value of some of Trump's most well-known properties to secure better terms on business deals. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and defended the valuations outside the courtroom.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: Undervaluing these properties is a disgrace to our nation.

BUSTILLO: Trump came to New York City for the first three days of the trial last week, despite it not being required. One of his arguments is that his contracts includes what he calls a, quote, "buyer beware clause."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: Says when you take a look at the financial statement, don't believe anything you read. This is up front.

BUSTILLO: Weisselberg, who oversaw Trump's dealmaking, left jail in April after serving time for dodging taxes. And in this trial, he's accused of signing off on fraudulent financial statements. One of the statements he was asked about in court today is related to the former president's own penthouse. According to documents shown during trial, the Trump Tower triplex was marked as being almost 11,000 square feet in 1994, not the 30,000 square feet that appears on financial statements used in later years. A Forbes magazine article originally shed light on the discrepancy in 2017. Weisselberg testified that he didn't pay attention to this specific property. He said he couldn't remember if he discussed the financial statements with Trump as they were finalized.

Ximena Bustillo, NPR News, inside the New York County Supreme Court. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.