The first time Donald Trump was deposed by New York Attorney General Letitia James – who’s spent more than two years calling him an inveterate fraudster – the former president pleaded the Fifth repeatedly.
But in a second deposition held this past April, the AG’s office couldn’t get him to shut up, including about the “beautiful” marble bathrooms in his “tremendous” properties, a newly-released transcript shows.
In a seven-hour grilling that’s a prelude to Trump’s October 2, $250 million civil fraud trial, his answers were so long-winded, that one of James’ lawyers worried aloud that if he didn’t speed it up, everyone in the room would “be here until midnight.”
Trump’s deposition transcript was released late Wednesday by the attorney general’s office, which alleges that the former president, his two eldest sons, and two of his former top executives routinely inflated his net worth in financial fillings made on behalf of the Trump Organization, his international real-estate and golf-resort company.
The “fraudulent” math helped Trump trick banks into extending lower-cost loans that saved him hundreds of millions of dollars in interest, James alleges.
During the April deposition, lawyers for both sides broke out in bickering.
“We’re going to be here until midnight if you keep asking questions that are all over the map,” Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise complained early on to one of James’ top lawyers on the fraud case, Kevin Wallace.
“Chris,” Wallace responded, “we’re going to be here until midnight if your client answers every question with an eight-minute speech.”
Trump had just launched into a stem-winder about his “brand” when the tiff broke out.
“If I wanted to build a big statement just for the sake of a statement, I would go out and I would value the brand and — which is much more than the $3 billion,” Trump said. “And as I said once before today, I became President of the United States because of my brand.”
Wallace attempted to get Trump back on track.
“I just want to go back to a couple of things you said,” Wallace said. “The first is, you said, ‘I didn’t need banks for the most part.’”
“So why did you use banks?” he asked.
“Because you do it. It’s better tax wise,” Trump said. “You do it.”
Trump told the lawyer he paid off all the loans that he took out from banks to pay for his properties.
“Politics hurt. When I get sued by you — fortunately, I don’t need banks,” Trump continued. “I mean, paid off all that stuff that you used to talk about. I paid it off.”
He went on to claim that “prior to [getting] sued by the Attorney General of the State of New York, banks wanted to do business with me so badly.”
Wallace then tried to hone in on Trump’s business practices before he took office.
“What would your considerations be when you’re deciding whether or not I’m going to use a bank or I’m going to borrow money for this project?” Wallace asked.
But Trump’s lawyer, Kise, objected to the question, saying that “before he was president covers from the 1950s all the way to 2017.”
“Chris, I believe the question was clear until you decided to mess it up,” Wallace said.
Kise replied: “No, it wasn’t.”
“He understood it and was able to answer it,” Wallace said. “So, if you want to object, say object. Don’t sit — don’t try to make the question more complicated.”
Eventually, Wallace accused Kise of straying from New York’s rules of civil procedure and the two lawyers began blaming each other’s side for dragging things out, potentially, until midnight.
In other ramblings, Trump launched into a soliloquy about the beauty of the marble bathrooms at his Miami golf resort, Trump National Doral Golf Club.
“In the case of the villas, 800 rooms, they were gutted out down to the steel and rebuilt and they’re incredible,” he said of his renovation of the property.
“I could have done what I called a paint and wallpaper job. You just paint and wallpaper it. But it was time — it was tired,” he said.
“I started using marble instead of carpet,” he added, continuing a line of thought that was irrelevant.
“They’re all marble bathrooms. I mean, they’re beautiful.”