Trump’s civil fraud trial at the New York State Supreme Court has taken a dramatic turn as a defense witness’s testimony has seized the spotlight.
New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who testified on Thursday, December 7, revealed a substantial compensation of nearly $900,000 for his participation, raising eyebrows and prompting discussions about the potential impact on the trial’s credibility.
According to a report by Raw Story on Friday, December 8, 2023, Bartov, a key witness for the defense, asserted on Thursday that he did not find evidence of fraud in Trump’s financial disclosures related to bank loan applications.
However, during cross-examination on Friday, he disclosed that he was paid at a rate of $1,350 per hour for his testimony, accumulating a total of 650 hours on the case, as reported by The Messenger.
This revelation significantly surpassed Bartov’s initial estimate in July, where he indicated spending only 250 hours preparing his report and 150 hours on a rebuttal report, projecting a compensation of $520,000
Former President Trump, present during Thursday’s direct examination, highlighted Bartov’s assertion that he found “no evidence of accounting fraud” on the financial statements used to secure bank loans.
The focus shifted, however, when details of Bartov’s substantial payment emerged, raising questions about the potential influence of financial incentives on expert witnesses.
Bartov, in his court testimony, did not find it unusual that Trump’s Fifth Avenue apartment had been valued at over three times the market value.
He attributed this discrepancy to the tripling of square footage but was restricted from offering an opinion on Trump’s intent behind inflating the property values.
The disclosure of significant payments to expert witnesses is not uncommon during trials, and such revelations are routinely scrutinized to assess potential impacts on the credibility of the testimony.
Critics argue that sizable compensation may introduce biases and compromise the impartiality of expert witnesses, while proponents maintain that it is a standard practice to remunerate professionals for their time and expertise.
The case against Trump revolves around allegations of fraudulent financial disclosures made to obtain bank loans. Bartov’s testimony, coupled with the details of his remuneration, adds a layer of complexity to the proceedings, prompting speculation about the broader implications for the trial’s outcome.
This revelation comes amid heightened scrutiny of expert witness testimonies in high-profile cases, emphasizing the need for transparency in legal proceedings. As the trial unfolds, observers will closely monitor how this disclosure shapes the narrative and influences perceptions surrounding Trump’s defense.
In the ever-evolving legal saga surrounding the former president, the revelation of substantial payments to a defense witness underscores the intricate dynamics at play in the pursuit of justice and accountability. The trial’s trajectory remains uncertain, with each revelation contributing to the unfolding narrative of one of the most closely watched legal battles in recent history.