Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York

12:35 p.m. ET, January 11, 2024

Judge and Trump lawyer spar over the significance of a $2 billion difference

Former President Donald Trump sits in New York State Supreme Court during his civil fraud trial on January 11, 2024 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Judge Arthur Engoron has interrupted Trump attorney Chris Kise at several points during closing arguments Thursday.

Kise has repeatedly said the New York attorney general’s team did not rebut testimony of many key Trump defense witnesses, including two defense experts who said Mar-A-Lago was undervalued and could be used as a private residence.

Engoron stopped Kise to acknowledge while he agrees the testimony wasn’t rebutted, “I don’t believe I have to accept testimony even if its unrebutted if I don’t’ find it credible.”

The judge interrupted Trump’s lawyer again to push back on whether $2 billion was “material” or significant in this case.

Kise argued – as he did at trial — that Deutsche Bank loaned Trump millions of dollars after independently verifying Trump’s self-reported asset values. The bank adjusted his net worth by $2 billion at one point but did not find it material. It wasn’t material to the bank, so it shouldn’t be material in this case, Kise argued.

“That’s not logically correct,” the judge said.

The standard for materiality is whether it’s material to the average person, Engoron said.

“Let me ask you this, is materiality an objective standard or a subjective standard?” Engoron asked Kise.

Kise said it was subjective and pointed to the testimony of New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who said that there were no material misstatements in Trump’s financial statements. 

“I didn’t lend much credence to Mr. Bartov,” Engoron responded.

“I didn’t think that was fair, as you know,” Kise said. “They were not concerned about a $2 billion differential,” Kise said of Deutsche Bank, saying the bank awarded loans to Trump based on their own adjusted values.“

This has to be viewed through the lens of the bank,” Kise said.

“Of a bank. Not the bank. We disagree,” Engoron responded. 

The debate continued over Kise’s argument against Trump being liable for disgorgement, or “ill-gotten gains” from his Deutsche Bank loan rates.

“Do you believe that for disgorgement there has to be harm to be a third party?” Engoron asked.

“There has to be trespass to their legal rights,” Kise said. “The president here in this case has to receive something from Deutsche Bank that he would not have otherwise received.”

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