Donald Trump is “toast” in the civil fraud trial involving his business empire and put himself in an incredibly bad position when he agreed to testify in person after previously invoking his fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination, Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor, told CNN on Wednesday.
“Basically at this point, Donald Trump is toast,” said Akerman, who was an assistant special prosecutor on the 1970s team that investigated President Richard Nixon and top aides for their involvement in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel and subsequent revelation of other nefarious political activities. “I mean he is basically going to be found to be a liar by the judge.”
In an ongoing trial, Trump gave testimony on Monday. Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, is suing the former president for deceitfully misrepresenting the worth of company assets in order to obtain better terms on loans and insurance contracts.
The trial in Manhattan is to ascertain the penalty that Trump and the Trump Organisation, his family business, will have to pay after the case’s supervisory judge, Arthur Engoron, declared that they had committed fraud. James is requesting $250 million in addition to a ban on the former president’s ability to transact real estate in New York.
During his deposition in August 2022, Trump mentioned the Fifth Amendment over 400 times. He yet stated in his court testimony last week that he had committed no fraud. The bench sharply reprimanded Trump for using his bench appearance to criticise the judge and what he claimed was unjust treatment during the trial.
In New York, a judge’s decision to assert the Fifth Amendment in a civil action may be interpreted negatively.
“You’ve got contradictory testimony. You can use his assertion of the fifth amendment against him. To basically find that he’s lying,” Akerman said. “I just don’t see how this judge, at the end of the day, is not gonna find with respect to Donald Trump ‘liar, liar, pants on fire’.”
In his forty years of practising civil law, Akerman continued, he had “never seen somebody do such a stupid move as to suddenly start testifying after you’ve taken the fifth.” Akerman noted that a small number of his clients had taken the Fifth Amendment.
Trump’s team is scheduled to start its defence on Thursday after James rested her case on Wednesday.