CHICAGO (AP) – The attorney for an 87-year-old woman who accuses Donald Trump of cheating her in a skyscraper condo deal told Chicago jurors on Wednesday that the “Apprentice” star lied on the witness stand — then added he was personally repulsed by him.
The comments came during a sarcasm-filled closing argument at a trial that has pitted investor Jacqueline Goldberg against the billionaire real estate mogul-turned TV showman.
His voice rising, attorney Shelly Kulwin portrayed the case as a battle between a woman who learned her values growing up in the Depression and a powerful businessman. Other countries may ensure the powerful will prevail at trial, he said, “but not here. Not in America.”
Trump, who is from New York, wasn’t in court for the closings, but Kulwin displayed a photograph of the beaming developer on a large courtroom.
“The thought of my grandma being in the same room with that guy. Yuck!” said Kulwin, prompting a Trump attorney to object. The judge told jurors to disregard the comment.
Later, he said Trump was motivated to cheat his client by greed.
“It’s like his family, those dollars,” Kulwin said. “He’s in the business of getting, not in the business of giving.”
Trump’s attorney was set to deliver his closing arguments later Wednesday.
Goldberg alleges that Trump wooed her into buying two condos at around $1 million apiece by promising she would share in building profits but reneged after she committed to buying.
“It’s called a bait and switch,” Kulwin told jurors. “Here’s the bait. Here’s the switch.”
Trump testified for two days last week, saying he couldn’t believe Goldberg signed a purchasing contract knowing he had a right to withdraw a profit-sharing deal — then still sued him. He also denied ever cheating anyone, and later told reporters he was the victim, not her. He declared, “She’s trying to rip me off.”
But Kulwin told jurors that Trump took the stand “to lie, evade and spout infomercials” about how he built successful buildings. He also mocked Trump for telling jurors he never took notes of business meetings and so couldn’t say for sure when certain decisions were made and by whom.
“People who don’t want to be found out don’t write things down. They’re not stupid,” he said. “And Donald Trump may be a lot of things — but he’s not stupid.”
Kulwin told jurors Goldberg was seeking a total of $6 million in damages.
“Send a message not just to Mr. Trump — but to tell others like him,” he said pounding his hand on a podium. “You can say to them, `These people who do these things have crossed the line.”
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