Former president Donald Trump's Tuesday night rant responding to the accounting firm Mazars USA's decision to drop his company as a client could come back to haunt him in court, according to former New York state and federal prosecutor Danya Perry.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, pointed out in a court filing Wednesday that Trump's statement contradicted arguments made by his lawyers in the case.
"It is not unusual for parties to a legal proceeding to disagree about the facts," James' office wrote. "But it is truly rare for a party to publicly disagree with statements submitted by his own attorneys in a signed pleading -- let alone one day after the pleading was filed."
Appearing on MSNBC later Wednesday, Perry said that in his statement, Trump "admits a lot of the facts that are in contest, and you do rarely see that."
"Rarely within a day or ever do you see a counseled client, or target of an investigation, come out and make admissions that go both to knowledge and to intent," Perry said. "He has contested some facts that he, through his lawyers, have alleged in the proceedings, against the attorney general's office, including his knowledge of the financial statements, his understanding of the business, its assets, its values and the like. He just, in his answer, a short while ago, contested any knowledge of those things — and then made this public statement that shows not only was he aware that the financial statements could not be relied upon, but he also showed this intimate familiarity with a lot of the underlying assets and values of them, that will not serve him well going forward."
Perry added that Trump's statement could be used against him not only in James' civil investigation, but also in the Manhattan district attorney's criminal probe into the Trump Organization's practices.
In both cases, she said she expects part of Trump's defense to be that he's "at the top of the organization, he doesn't know, he's not familiar, other people do this. He hires the best accountants, the best lawyers."
"And here he is in a publicly filed statement, saying actually I do know, to the extent anyone maybe thought he didn't understand the value of the brand, here he is saying it in his four-page statement over and over and over," Perry said. "So the attorney general seized on it immediately, put that in front of the judge to say, 'Judge you shouldn't listen to anything they're saying in their answer. You should go ahead and order these depositions to take place immediately.'"
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