Attorney General Letitia James “is setting a very dangerous precedent for any business in the state of New York,” warned Trump attorney Alina Habba in her opening statement.
Habba told the court she hadn’t planned to make opening remarks, but that she felt moved to speak after hearing the state present its own opening statement. Habba accused the attorney general of targeting Trump before taking office, claiming the investigation and lawsuit were personal in nature.
“We are attacking a sitting president and two of his children and his employees for a statement of financial condition which is frankly worth less than what they are worth,” Habba said.
Habba reiterated many of the points made earlier by co-counsel Christopher Kise, highlighting the fact that “these lenders made money,” and arguing that “real estate is malleable — the values change.”
After Habba concluded her remarks, Judge Engeron engaged her in a series of follow-up questions, asking about her claim that the property appraisals at issue were “undervalued” by prosecutors.
Habba replied that “the Trump brand is worth something.”