Former Watergate prosecutor says ‘Trump is toast’ in NY fraud trial
Nick Ackerman, a former Watergate prosecutor, said former President Trump is “toast” in his New York civil fraud case, arguing it is a “stupid move” for the former president to testify in his case after invoking the Fifth Amendment in a deposition for it last summer.
“And basically at this point, Donald Trump is toast,” Ackerman said in a CNN interview. “I mean, he is basically going to be found to be a liar by the judge here.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) office is suing Trump, the Trump organization and Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., for $250 million over allegations of more than a decade of fraud.
The suit accuses Trump, some of his children and their business of falsely inflating and deflating the value of the Trump Organization’s assets in order to receive lower taxes and more insurance coverage.
Ackerman argued people are not only focused on the former president’s testimony, but also his deposition with James’s lawyers last summer, where he invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 400 times.
“Now what does it mean to take the Fifth Amendment? It means that you are refusing to answer a question, because a truthful answer would tend to be incriminating,” Ackerman said. “Then what did Donald Trump do last week? He went into court and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t do anything fraudulent, I wasn’t involved in a fraud.’ Which is just the opposite what in effect he was saying when he took the Fifth Amendment in his deposition.”
“So you’ve got contradictory testimony,” Ackerman continued. “You can use his assertion of the Fifth Amendment against him to basically find that he’s lying, that he’s manipulating the system when he goes in, refuses to answer questions, answers the questions in a half-baked manner.”
Trump took the stand earlier this week, where he defended his business practices and condemned those involved in the case as politically motivated “Trump haters.”
“I just don’t see how this judge at the end of the day is not going to find that, with respect to Donald Trump … ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire,'” Ackerman said.
Ackerman said that in his more than 40 years of civil law experience, he has never seen anyone “do such a stupid move as to suddenly start testifying” after they’ve taken the Fifth Amendment.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, testified for hours Wednesday, and she was the state’s last witness to be called to the stand this week.
The trial began on Oct. 2 and is expected to last until mid-December, with the defense slated to begin presenting its case and set of witnesses next week.