In 2007, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was called upon to give a two-day deposition in one of his many lawsuits. Over the course of that testimony, he told an astonishing number of lies that are easily disproven and debunked.
The Washington Post said on Wednesday that the lawsuit began when Trump sued author Timothy O’Brien for defamation when O’Brien’s book TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald said that realistic estimates of the former reality TV star’s net worth would place him in the category of millionaire, not billionaire as he frequently claims.
Trump lost that lawsuit, but not before O’Brien’s legal team turned the tables on the real estate magnate and summoned him for a lengthy deposition regarding his net worth.
It was in this deposition that Trump made his now-notorious pronouncement that he bases his net worth on his “feelings.”
“Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day. Then you have a September 11th, and you don’t feel so good about yourself and you don’t feel so good about the world and you don’t feel so good about New York City. Then you have a year later, and the city is as hot as a pistol. Even months after that it was a different feeling. So yeah, even my own feelings affect my value to myself.”
According to the Post, Trump stretched the truth to the breaking point in a number of statements.
“Trump had misstated sales at his condo buildings. Inflated the price of membership at one of his golf clubs. Overstated the depth of his past debts and the number of his employees,” wrote David A. Fahrenthold and Robert O’Harrow Jr.
“Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did,” the Post continued.
O’Brien said after the lawsuit was settled, “A very clear and visible side effect of my lawyers’ questioning of Trump is that he [was revealed as] a routine and habitual fabulist.”
Trump admitted to the Post that the intent of his lawsuit was to punish O’Brien for saying mean things about him.
“I didn’t read [the book], to be honest with you,” he said. “I never read it. I saw some of the things they said. I said: ‘Go sue him. It will cost him a lot of money.’ ”
Trump lied to O’Brien’s attorneys about his percentage of ownership in a Manhattan real estate group saying that he owned a 50 percent stake of the business, when in fact he owned less than 30 percent.
He claimed that he was paid $1 million for a single speech to New York City’s Learning Annex. He actually received $400,000.
The lawyers pointed to an interview with CNN’s Larry King in which Trump claimed to employ “Twenty-two thousand or so” workers.
“Are all those people on your payroll?” attorney Andrew Ceresny asked.
“No, not directly,” Trump admitted. He said that the figure he stated on Larry King Live included employees of other companies that acted as suppliers and subcontractors to Trump businesses.
He lied about the membership fee for one of his golf courses, inflating the figure by $100,000. He lied about the extent of his debt in the early 90s to make his climb back to solvency look more heroic.
Trump also made a number of unsubstantiated claims in an attempt to slander and discredit O’Brien including a made-up claim that the writer was once arrested for stalking.
“I guess that was probably taken off the Internet,” Trump admitted.
The real estate magnate said that O’Brien has a reputation for threatening his sources, for using public forums to fire arrows at longtime enemies and settle old scores.
“What was the basis for that statement?” Ceresny asked.
“Just my perception of him,” Trump answered. “I don’t know that he indicated anything like that to me, but I think he probably did indirectly.”
At the end of the deposition sessions, Trump’s attorney Mark Ressler ordered that the transcripts be sealed from public scrutiny.
“I want the record to be crystal clear that every single word, every question, every answer, every word, is confidential,” Ressler demanded.
However, after he lost the suit, then appealed and then lost again, the testimony was entered into the public record.
Trump still lies when asked about the outcome of the lawsuit.
“O’Brien knows nothing about me,” Trump said in a statement to the Post this week. “His book was a total failure and ultimately I had great success doing what I wanted to do — costing this third rate reporter a lot of legal fees.”
O’Brien countered that his publisher and their insurers paid to defend TrumpNation in court, “Donald Trump lost his lawsuit and, unlike him, it didn’t cost me a penny to litigate it.”