NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, former President Trump’s attorney and fixer, said in a deposition shown Monday in a New York courtroom that he and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg were tasked with inflating assets to “obtain the number that Mr. Trump wanted.”
Cohen, in a deposition to prosecutors, gave an example in which the former president might want to be “higher on the Forbes list,” so he’d suggest that, for example, his $6 billion net worth should actually be $8 billion.
“Allen and I were tasked with increasing those assets to accommodate that $8 billion number,” Cohen said.
Cohen’s deposition was played as part of the state’s opening remarks in a trial focused on Trump’s business dealings. It could impact the control Trump has over some of his most famed real estate properties that helped catapult him to fame, television success and, ultimately, the White House.
State prosecutors also played depositions from Trump’s two adult sons.
Kevin Wallace, counsel with the New York attorney general’s office, said in the state’s opening remarks that Trump, his adult sons and the Trump Organization engaged in “repeated, persistent illegal acts” while operating their businesses.
“Those illegal acts, together with the fraud we already established, entitles the people all equitable relief [requested],” he said.
Wallace also played a clip from Eric Trump’s deposition, asserting the president’s son denied responsibility for statements of financial condition.
He also played a clip of Donald Trump Jr.’s deposition where he made the same denial, which garnered an objection from his counsel that was overruled by Engoron.
“Who is responsible?” Wallace asked.
Former President Trump arrived at the courthouse Monday, though he was not required to make an appearance in the trial, which is expected to last several months.
The trial revolves around Trump illegally inflating property values and sizes on financial statements to secure business loans and insurance policies to get better terms.
Trump said in remarks upon his arrival that the trial was a “scam” and a “sham.” He has denied any wrongdoing.