(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accused him of fraud, has “no case” because he put a disclaimer on his financial statements, Business Insider reported.
James filed a lawsuit on Sept. 21 against Trump, his three oldest children and the Trump Organization, in which she alleges that he “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to further enrich himself and cheat the system.”
The civil lawsuit asks Trump to pay $250 million in penalties because he “repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization.”
Speaking with Fox News host Sean Hannity at Mar-a-Lago, Trump made a simple argument against James’s claims: “We have a disclaimer.”
Each year, the Trump Oganization would release its 20-page “Statements of Financial Condition,” which would estimate the company’s assets, liabilities and net worth.
Trump presented this document to prospective investors, but he never claimed that they should rely on his accountants.
Instead, the disclaimer told investors to “get your own people,” Trump said. “You’re at your own risk … It may be way off. Use your own lawyers. Don’t rely on us.”
The accounting firm that prepared Trump’s financial reports, Mazars, affixed the disclosure to its front page.
“We have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statement and, accordingly, do not express an opinion or provide any assurance about whether the financial statement is in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America,” the disclaimer said.
Lawyer Armen Morian, who worked in the New York AG’s Investor Protection Bureau for 13 years, said the disclaimer protects Trump from fraud allegations.
“What the disclaimers are saying is, ‘Beware when you read these financial statements,’” Morian said. “That’s all it has to do. And that doesn’t cover just Mazars. It covers Trump.”