(Bloomberg) — A Deutsche Bank AG executive gave testimony that could bolster Donald Trump’s defense in his civil fraud trial, telling a New York judge that prospective clients can get loans even after reporting a net worth far higher than the lender’s own calculations.
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David Williams, who worked on at least one of three loans Deutsche Bank made to Trump in the years before he was elected president, testified Tuesday that it’s “atypical, but not entirely unusual” for the bank to cut a client’s stated asset value by 50% and approve a loan anyway, as it did with Trump.
“Is the bank capable of reaching its own judgment based on the evaluation it makes of the guarantor’s financial condition?” Trump attorney Jesus Suarez asked Williams, a managing director at the German bank.
“Certainly, yes,” Williams said.
The suit brought last year by New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump of inflating his assets by as much as $3.6 billion a year to get better terms from banks and insurers. Trump is scheduled to take the witness stand for the second time on Dec. 11, when he’s likely to double down on his earlier testimony that no banks were financially harmed by loaning to him.
Kevin Wallace, a lawyer for James, told the judge at the end of the day that Wallace’s testimony doesn’t undercut the state’s case because the trial doesn’t hinge on whether Deutsche Bank was a victim. Instead, he said, its whether Trump knowingly created and used false financial documents.
“The idea that you can’t lie to a bank is pretty well established,” Wallace said.
Deutsche Bank, which loaned Trump hundreds of millions of dollars for properties in Miami, Chicago and Washington, cut his stated net worth in 2011 and 2012 from about $4.2 billion to $2.3 billion when evaluating his loan requests, according to internal bank credit memos used as evidence in the case. The same documents show the bank approved the loans anyway because it expected them to generate a profit based on Trump’s history of successful developments and other criteria.