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Closing arguments wrap up in the Trump civil fraud trial in New York

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Closing arguments in former president Donald Trump's civil fraud trial in New York wrapped up yesterday. Trump and his two older sons are accused of being part of a scheme to make Trump appear wealthier than he was in order to secure better deals. As NPR's Ximena Bustillo reports, a verdict in the case is expected by the end of the month.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING CROWD)

XIMENA BUSTILLO, BYLINE: Former president Donald Trump stood inside 40 Wall Street in Manhattan - a building that proudly displays his name in gold letters - to defend himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: We've proven this case so conclusively. We've asked for directed verdict many times. They don't have any facts. They don't have any evidence against us.

BUSTILLO: Trump's supporters cheered him on as he left the building.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Trump 2024. Yeah.

BUSTILLO: The comments came after Trump and his lawyers, as well as the New York state attorney general, wrapped up closing arguments in a courtroom 20 minutes away. The lawsuit, brought by the attorney general, alleges that from 2011 to 2021, Trump and executives at the Trump Organization created more than 200 false valuations to inflate his net worth by billions of dollars to get better business, insurance and banking deals. State Attorney General Letitia James also spoke yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LETITIA JAMES: This case has never been about politics or personal vendetta or about name-calling. This case is about the facts and the law. And Mr. Donald Trump violated the law.

BUSTILLO: She is asking the judge to impose a $370 million penalty on Trump and his flagship Trump Organization and to limit his ability to conduct business in New York state. But Trump and his legal team are calling the trial election interference. Trump is currently the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, but he is fighting 91 criminal charges across the country as voters prepare to cast their ballots. In closing arguments, Trump's lawyers emphasized that the former president has nothing to do with the creation of the documents and that no financial entity has taken issue with the valuations. The attorney general's team argued that the fraud was central to the Trump Organization and its growth. Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that there was fraud and that Trump is liable. He is going to decide how much Trump must pay by the end of the month.

Ximena Bustillo, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.