Washington — Bankruptcies and mistakes marred Donald Trump's business history. His disastrous investment in NYU accounting professor Eli Bartov stands out.
According to recent Federal Election Commission documents, Trump's Save America political action group paid Bartov over $930,000 last year as an expert witness in the recent York attorney general's civil fraud lawsuit that threatens his real estate business.
Bartov bombed. Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York Supreme Court said in December that the professor's evidence simply showed that “for a million or so dollars, some experts will say whatever you want them to
review of new Federal Election Commission documents reveals Trump's campaign fundraising juggernaut spent $54 million on legal fees last year, including Bartov. The expenditure comes as Trump faces many lawsuits and scores of felony accusations in four criminal cases. Save America paid 84% of the committee's legal fees.
With 2022 FEC data, AP concluded that Save America, Trump's campaign, and his other fundraising entities spent $76.7 million on legal expenses. The large sum highlights Trump's legal risk as he seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
The legal fees are high, but Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault, who studies campaign finance rules and government ethics, said they won't hurt Trump's presidential campaign. Briffault added, “He seems to be able to raise a lot of money, so I wouldn’t really worry about the long term impact on his campaign.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the huge array of felony accusations and lawsuits political efforts to derail his presidential campaign. The Trump team declined to comment on legal costs.
The FEC reports show that many of his most renowned lawyers received over $5 million from the former president's campaign donations. The biggest is $6 million for New Jersey lawyer Alina Habba, who defended Trump in advice columnist E. Jean Carroll's sexual assault and defamation complaint.
Carroll's verdict hurt Trump. Judges gave her about $88 million. Criminal prosecutions put him at greater political and personal peril. While draining his campaign funds to pay his attorney expenses, the former president has tried to depict himself as a victim of a corrupt justice system. As in the Carroll and New York fraud trials, reporters and photographers pack the courtroom, and he uses the platform to warn his political rivals that they are trying to muzzle him and his followers.
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