Trump has spent $76 million over the past two years on lawyers as legal problems mount before the election

Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump’s business career It is scrutinized by bankruptcies and blunders. His investment in Eli Bartov, an accounting professor at New York University, looms as another failed venture.

Trump’s political action committee, Save America, paid Bartoff nearly $930,000 last year as an expert witness in the New York attorney general’s civil fraud case threatening the former president’s real estate empire, according to new Federal Election Commission filings.

Bartov bombing. New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron announced the professor’s testimony in December Just prove it “For a million dollars or so, some expert will say what you want them to say.”

An Associated Press analysis of new Federal Election Commission filings shows that the payments to Bartov are among $54 million in legal expenses paid by Trump’s political fundraising machine last year. The spending came while Trump was fighting Multiple lawsuits and dozens of criminal charges in four criminal cases.

Save America made up the bulk of the payments, with 84% of the committee’s spending going toward legal costs.

Combined with Federal Election Commission data from 2022, the Associated Press review found that Save America, Trump’s presidential campaign and his other fundraising organizations allocated $76.7 million in legal fees over the two years. This huge sum highlights the legal risk that Trump faces as he marches towards obtaining the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Richard Briffault, Professor at Columbia Law School in New York Although the legal expenses are significant, they are unlikely to hinder Trump’s run for the White House, said the specialist in campaign finance regulation and government ethics.

“He seems like he can raise a lot of money, so I don’t really worry about the long-term impact on his campaign,” Briffault said.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and criticized the long list of criminal charges and lawsuits as partisan attempts to upend his presidential bid. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on legal spending.

Payments to several of his most prominent lawyers have exceeded $5 million each, all from donors to the former president’s campaign, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Alina Haba, whose New Jersey law firm represented Trump in the sexual assault and defamation lawsuit brought by advice columnist E. Gene Carroll, received the most money, $6 million.

Trump suffered a stinging loss in the Carroll case. The jury awarded her more than $88 million. Criminal cases carry greater political and personal risks for him. Even as the former president drains his campaign coffers to pay for his personal attorney, he seeks to turn legal problems into opportunity by portraying himself as a victim of a corrupt judicial system.

Reporters and cameras often show up in droves when he appears in the courtroom, as he did in the Carroll and New York fraud cases, commanding the stage to send a message that his political enemies aim to silence him and his supporters.

“It’s terrible what’s happening here.” Trump told reporters in early November After leaving the courtroom where the fraud case was being held in New York. “I think it’s a very sad day for America.”

Trump faces two sets of federal charges over his keeping secret records at his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida and his alleged role in seeking to undermine the 2020 election.

He faces government charges in Georgia that he illegally planned to cancel the elections in the state. New York City prosecutors accused him of paying hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign to prevent a sexual relationship from becoming public.

Chris Case, who left the giant firm Foley & Lardner to be one of Trump’s lawyers, has taken in $5.1 million in donor money over the past two years, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Casey and Haba have represented Trump in a fraud lawsuit in New York, which could ultimately result in him being barred from doing business in the state and being required to pay several hundred million dollars in penalties.

Continental PLLC, a Florida law firm that Kise joined after leaving Foley & Lardner, separately received $5.4 million in Trump donor money, according to records.

The Trump campaign paid Atlanta lawyer Steven Sadow $1.5 million in the second half of 2023. Trump hired Sado to represent him in an election subversion case in Georgia.

Campaign funds were also used to pay lawyers who represented co-defendants and potential witnesses in Trump’s cases. Brand Woodward Law in Washington received $660,000, the bulk of that money coming in 2023. One of the firm’s clients, Trump valet Walt Nauta, is accused of planning to hide Mar-a-Lago security camera footage from government investigators.

Bartov, Professor of AccountingHe did not respond to an email requesting comment. Although he is not a lawyer, the nearly $930,000 he received from Save America for legal advice illustrates the benefits and risks of standing in Trump’s corner.

He previously told an AP reporter that Engoron, the judge in the New York civil fraud case, had mischaracterized his testimony.

The New York attorney general’s case against Trump centers on his business financials. The attorney general’s office alleges that the former president fraudulently inflated the value of assets such as Trump Tower and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to secure loans and business deals.

But Bartov, who was appointed for his expert perspective, testified in early December that he found no evidence of accounting fraud.

Judge Engoron criticized Bartov sharply and publicly in a decision he issued less than two weeks later. Engoron wrote that he had previously ruled that there were numerous clear errors in Trump’s financial statements.

“By tirelessly trying to justify every false statement, Professor Bartov has lost all credibility,” the judge wrote.

(Tags for translation)Donald Trump

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