The ongoing civil fraud trial involving former President Donald Trump in New York City has shed light on the substantial fees charged by expert witnesses defending him. One of the key witnesses, Eli Bartov, revealed that he was compensated around $877,500 for his testimony, equating to an hourly rate of $1,350 for approximately 650 hours of work.
The Trump Organization and Trump’s Save America PAC were responsible for funding this hefty sum. The revelation came to light during Bartov’s cross-examination in the trial. Another expert for the defense, Frederick Chin, who testified on real estate valuation matters, billed $850 per hour over 1,000 hours, totaling $850,000. In comparison, the state’s expert, Michael McCarty, earned about $350,000 at a rate of $950 per hour, albeit for fewer hours.
The financial implications of these expert fees are significant, especially considering the Save America PAC’s expenditure of $40 million in the first half of this year on Trump’s various legal battles. This trial adds to the mounting legal costs that Trump has faced since leaving office.
During the proceedings, Trump spent the entire day at the courthouse, occasionally addressing the crowd outside the courtroom. He consistently praised Bartov, an accounting professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and commended his testimony multiple times. Trump described Bartov as a leading expert and a highly respected person with an impressive resume. He emphasized that Bartov’s testimony supported his claims of no fraud or accounting wrongdoing.
The former president is expected to make another appearance on December 11 as the trial approaches its final stages. Bartov’s cross-examination is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.
The revelation of the substantial fees paid to expert witnesses defending Trump raises questions about the cost of legal battles and the value placed on expert testimony. Critics argue that such high fees may create a barrier to justice for those who cannot afford to hire top-tier expert witnesses. On the other hand, supporters argue that these fees reflect the expertise and reputation of the witnesses, which are crucial in high-profile cases.
As the trial continues, the financial implications and the role of expert witnesses will remain under scrutiny. The outcome of this trial could have far-reaching consequences for both Trump and the legal profession.