Trump PAC paid part of nearly $900,000 fee to fraud trial expert witness

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Former US President Donald Trump departs during a break in the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization, at the New York State Supreme Court in New York City on December 7, 2023. Former US President Donald Trump was back in court on December 7, 2023, for his New York civil trial on fraud allegations, once again condemning the process as unfair. Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and his two eldest sons are accused of inflating the value of their real estate assets to receive more favorable bank loans and insurance terms. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Timothy A. Clary | Afp | Getty Images

The political action committee backing the 2024 campaign of former President Donald Trump paid at least some of nearly $900,000 in compensation to an expert witness in Trump’s major New York civil fraud trial, the witness said Friday.

The Trump Organization paid the remainder of the fee for the work done by the defense witness, New York University Accounting Professor Eli Bartov.

Bartov, whose full-throated denial of any fraud by Trump and his co-defendants has been praised by the former president, said the compensation did not affect his testimony, NBC News reported.

The figure offers a peek into how much money is being spent on just one small slice of Trump’s legal battles, which are being waged in civil and criminal courts in numerous states and at multiple levels of government.

It is not unusual for experts to be paid by the party asking for their involvement in a lawsuit.

It is also common for the opposing party — in this case, lawyers for the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James — to point out that payment in order to undermine an expert’s credibility.

Such appears to be the case with Bartov in the $250 million fraud trial in Manhattan Supreme Court. James accuses Trump, his two adult sons, his company and its top executives of falsely inflating the values of his assets on key financial records.

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Bartov said on the witness stand Friday that he has tallied 650 billable hours at a rate of $1,350 per hour. That adds up to $877,500 in compensation, a figure Bartov confirmed.

Bartov also reiterated his disclosure, in a late July deposition, that he had been paid by both the Trump Organization and by Save America, the leadership political action committee backing Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

Trump was in court Thursday for the first day of Bartov’s testimony. Bartov is expected to resume testifying on Tuesday — one day after Trump takes the stand as the final non-expert witness for the defense.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.