One of Donald Trump’s expert witnesses in the New York business fraud trial admitted Friday that he is not, in fact, an expert.
Steven Laposa first took the stand Thursday to discuss the valuation of Trump’s real estate holdings. The New York attorney general has accused Trump and his allies of fraudulently inflating the value of their real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans.
Laposa said the attorney general’s approach to valuation was “flawed” because it relied on a market value analysis of Trump’s properties. He argued it should have been based on the investment value, which takes into account the owner’s investment requirements.
When Laposa returned to the stand Friday, a lawyer for the attorney general’s office asked him if he had any experience reviewing personal financial statements. Laposa said no.
The lawyer, Louis Solomon, then asked if Laposa is or has ever been a certified appraiser. Again, Laposa said no.
Solomon cited Laposa’s initial deposition from July, in which he said that when “disparate valuations exist, it is prudent and common practice to examine the underlying assumptions.” Laposa admitted he had not done so with Trump’s valuations.
Laposa also revealed he had never seen the financial statements for Trump’s property at 40 Wall Street, which might make it difficult to value the property accurately. (On the stand Thursday, Laposa said that 40 Wall Street in Manhattan was also undervalued.)
It’s unclear what Trump’s legal team sought to accomplish by bringing in Laposa as an expert witness. His disastrous testimony reflects how much of the trial has gone for Trump.
The current trial is just to set damages. Presiding Judge Arthur Engoron determined in September that Trump had committed fraud. Engoron ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization.
During the trial, Trump and his family members have all testified, and they have all made major mistakes. Trump’s lawyers also shared faulty evidence, undermining their own case.