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As Trump's fraud trial eyes his sweeping financial reports, executive says they're not done anymore

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NEW YORK -

Donald Trump's company no longer prepares the sweeping financial statements that New York state contends were full of deceptive numbers for years, an executive testified Monday at the former president's civil fraud trial.

Trump's 2014 to 2021 "statements of financial condition" are at the heart of state Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit against him, his company and some of its key figures. The defendants deny wrongdoing, but James says they misled lenders and insurers by giving them financial statements that greatly inflated Trump's asset values and overall net worth.

Nowadays, the Trump Organization continues to prepare various audits and other financial reports specific to some of its components, but "there is no roll-up financial statement of the company," said Mark Hawthorn, the chief operating officer of the Trump Organization's hotel arm.

He wasn't asked why the comprehensive reports had ceased but said they are "not required by any lender, currently, or any constituency."

Messages seeking comment on the matter were sent to spokespeople for the Trump Organization.

Hawthorn was testifying for the defence, which argues that various companies under the Trump Organization's umbrella have produced reams of financial documents "that no one had a problem with," as lawyer Clifford Robert put it.

A lawyer for James' office, Andrew Amer, stressed that the suit is about Trump's statements of financial condition, calling the other documents "irrelevant."

Now finishing its second month, the trial is putting a spotlight on the real estate empire that vaulted Trump into public life and eventually politics. The former president and current Republican 2024 front-runner maintains that James, a Democrat, is trying to damage his campaign.

Trump asserts that his wealth was understated, not overblown, on his financial statements. He also has stressed that the numbers came with disclaimers saying that they weren't audited and that others might reach different conclusions about his financial position.

During cross-examination, Hawthorn acknowledged that Trump's financial statements could have been audited by the company, rather than just compiled, though he noted that auditing wasn't required.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who will decide the verdict in the non-jury trial, has already ruled that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraud. The current proceeding is to decide remaining claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

James wants the judge to impose over US$300 million in penalties and to ban Trump from doing business in New York -- and that's on top of Engoron's pretrial order that a receiver take control of some of Trump's properties. An appeals court has frozen that order for now.

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Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed.

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