Trump trial document could prove he knew he lost election: legal analyst

A document presented Wednesday in New York’s white-collar fraud trial of Donald Trump could prove “tremendously important” to the former president’s election interference case, according to former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann.

Trump is facing a $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She accuses the former president and others associated with the Trump Organization of misvaluing the company’s assets for financial reasons. On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr., who is listed as a defendant in the civil case, took the witness stand to testify about his role in the family business.

According to a report by The Messenger correspondent Adam Klasfeld, in cross-examination of Trump Jr., prosecutors presented a document dated January 15, 2021, showing that the former president reinstated himself as trustee of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust has .

Alex Woodward, senior reporter at the Independent, said in the document in question that full control of Trump’s trust would be returned to the former president on January 20, 2021, the day he left the White House. Trump had relinquished his trustee position to Trump Jr. and Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, before taking office in January 2017.

Trump trial document could prove he knew he lost in 2020
Former President Donald Trump is pictured in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sunday. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., began his testimony in the former president’s economic fraud trial in New York City on Wednesday.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Weissmann said the document could be a valuable piece of evidence for special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Trump tried to stay in the White House after knowing he had lost the 2020 presidential election. The former president is also facing charges in Georgia following an investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who accused Trump and 18 others of trying to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.

“This document could be of enormous importance to Jack Smith and Fani Willis: It would show that Trump knew, at least on 01/15/21, that he had not won the election and was returning to his private life and business,” said Weissmann, who served as lead prosecutor served in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 election campaign, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

In an email to Newsweek, Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani said the document in question was “circumstantial evidence” that Trump knew he had lost in 2020.

“Anything Trump said or did in the months following the general election can be used by Special Counsel Jack Smith and Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis to implicate Trump’s knowledge of his defeat and his intent to overturn the results anyway prove,” said Rahmani Newsweek. “Trump’s own words and actions are the most damning evidence that he himself did not believe in the Big Lie.”

“Of course, Trump could argue that he truly believed he had won until January 6, 2021, and that he only re-established himself as trustee after Mike Pence certified the electoral votes,” Rahmani continued. “Or he could argue that after January 6, he still believed he could win in court, but in the meantime, while the trial was unfolding, he re-established himself as a trustee.”

Trump has claimed that the 2020 presidential election – in which he lost to President Joe Biden – was stolen from him due to voter fraud. Such claims have not been proven, and both Smith and Willis allege in their suits against Trump that the former president knew that claims of voter fraud were false in the weeks following the November 2020 election.

The former president pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s press team on Wednesday and asked for comment on Weissmann’s assessment.