Donald Trump briefly testifies in defamation trial in New York

He testified for under three minutes. But former President Donald Trump still broke a judge’s rules on what he could tell a jury about writer E Jean Carroll’s sexual assault and defamation allegations, and he left the courtroom Thursday bristling to the spectators: “This is not America.”


Testifying in his own defence in the defamation trial, Trump did not look at the jury during his short, heavily negotiated stint on the witness stand. Because of the complex legal context of the case, the judge limited his lawyers to asking a handful of short questions, each of which could be answered yes or no — such as whether he had made his negative statements in response to an accusation and didn’t intend anyone to harm Carroll.

But Trump nudged past those limits.

“She said something that I considered to be a false accusation,” he said, later adding: “I just wanted to defend myself, my family and, frankly, the presidency.”

After Judge Lewis A Kaplan told jurors to disregard those remarks, Trump rolled his eyes as he stepped down from the witness stand. The former president and current Republican front-runner left the courtroom during a break soon after, shaking his head and declaring to spectators — three times — that “this is not America.”

Carroll looked on throughout from the plaintiff’s table. The longtime advice columnist alleges that Trump attacked her in 1996, then defamed her by calling her a liar when she went public with her story in a 2019 memoir.

While Trump has said a lot about her to the court of public opinion, Thursday marked the first time he has directly addressed a jury about her claims.

But jurors also heard parts of a 2022 deposition — a term for out-of-court questioning under oath — in which Trump vehemently denied Carroll’s allegations, calling her “sick” and a “whack job.” Trump told jurors Thursday that he stood by that deposition, “100%.”

Trump didn’t attend a related trial last spring, when a different jury found that he did sexually abuse Carroll and that some of his comments were defamatory, awarding her $5 million. This trial concerns only how much more he may have to pay her for certain remarks he made in 2019, while president. She’s seeking at least $10 million.

Because of the prior jury’s findings, Kaplan said Trump now couldn’t offer any testimony “disputing or attempting to undermine” the sexual abuse allegations. The law doesn’t allow for “do-overs by disappointed litigants,” the judge said.

Even before taking the stand, Trump chafed at those limitations as the judge and lawyers for both sides discussed what he could be asked.

“I never met the woman. I don’t know who the woman is. I wasn’t at the trial,” he cut in from his seat at the defense table without jurors in the room. Kaplan told Trump he wasn’t allowed to interrupt the proceedings.

Trump was the last witness, and closing arguments are set for Friday.

Carroll, 80, claims Trump, 77, ruined her reputation after she publicly aired her account of a chance meeting that spiraled into a sexual assault in spring 1996. At the time, he was a prominent real estate developer, and she was an Elle magazine advice columnist who’d had a TV show.

She says they ran into each other at Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury department store close to Trump Tower, bantered and ended up in a dressing room, teasing each other about trying on lingerie. She has testified that she thought it would just be a funny story to tell but then he roughly forced himself on her before she eventually fought him off and fled.

The earlier jury found that she was sexually abused but rejected her allegation that she was raped.

Besides Trump, his defence called only one other witness, a friend of Carroll’s. The friend, retired TV journalist Carol Martin, was among two people the writer told about her encounter with Trump shortly after it happened, according to testimony at the first trial.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba confronted Martin on Tuesday with text messages in which she called Carroll a “narcissist” who seemed to be reveling in the attention she got from accusing and suing Trump. Martin said she regretted her word choices and doesn’t believe that Carroll loved the attention she has been getting.

Carroll has testified that she has gotten death threats that worried her enough to buy bullets for a gun she inherited from her father, install an electronic fence, warn her neighbors and unleash her pit bull to roam freely on the property of her small cabin in the mountains of upstate New York.

Trump’s attorneys have tried to show the jury through their cross-examination of various witnesses that by taking on Trump, Carroll has gained a measure of fame and financial rewards that outweigh the threats and other venom slung at her through social media.

After Carroll’s lawyers rested Thursday, Habba asked for a directed verdict in Trump’s favor, saying Carroll’s side hadn’t proven its case. Kaplan denied the request.

Even before testifying, Trump had already tested the judge’s patience. After he complained to his lawyers last week about a “witch hunt” and a “con job” within earshot of jurors, Kaplan threatened to eject him from the courtroom if it happened again. “I would love it,” Trump said. Later that day, Trump told a news conference Kaplan was a “nasty judge” and that Carroll’s allegation was “a made-up, fabricated story.”

While attending the trial last week, Trump made it clear — through muttered comments and gestures like shaking his head — that he was disgusted with the case. When a video clip from a Trump campaign rally last week was shown in court Thursday, he appeared to lip-synch himself saying the trial was rigged.

The trial had been suspended since early Monday because of a juror’s illness. When it resumed Thursday, the judge said two jurors were being “socially distanced” from the others.

Trump attended the trial fresh off big victories in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday and the Iowa caucuses last week. Meanwhile, he also faces four criminal cases. He has been juggling court and campaign appearances, using both to argue that he’s being persecuted by Democrats terrified of his possible election.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.


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Judge threatens to kick Trump out of NY courtroom during defamation trial

Donald Trump was threatened with expulsion from his Manhattan civil trial Wednesday after he repeatedly ignored a warning to keep quiet while writer E. Jean Carroll testified that he shattered her reputation after she accused him of sexual abuse.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told the former president that his right to be present at the trial will be revoked if he remains disruptive. After an initial warning, Carroll’s lawyer said Trump could still be heard making remarks to his lawyers, including “it is a witch hunt” and “it really is a con job.”

“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” Kaplan said in an exchange after the jury was excused for lunch, adding: “I understand you’re probably very eager for me to do that.”

“I would love it,” the Republican presidential front-runner shot back, shrugging as he sat between lawyers Alina Habba and Michael Madaio at the defense table.

“I know you would. You just can’t control yourself in these circumstances, apparently,” Kaplan responded.

“You can’t either,” Trump muttered.

Afterward, Trump ripped the judge in brief remarks to reporters at an office building he owns near the courthouse. He called the Bill Clinton appointee “a nasty judge” and a “Trump-hating guy,” echoing his own social media posts that Kaplan was “seething and hostile,” and “abusive, rude, and obviously not impartial.”

Trump has made similar comments about the judge in another case: a state of New York lawsuit accusing him of inflating his property values to get better rates on insurance and loans.

On Wednesday, Judge Kaplan denied a request from Trump’s lawyers that he step aside from the case involving Carroll, a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist.

Kaplan cracked down after Carroll lawyer Shawn Crowley complained for a second time that Trump could be heard “loudly saying things” throughout her testimony as he sat at the defense table, frequently tilting back and leaning over to speak with his lawyers.

Crowley suggested that if Carroll’s lawyers could hear Trump from where they were sitting, about 12 feet (3.7 meters) from him, jurors might’ve been able to hear him, too. Some appeared to split their focus between Trump and the witness stand.

“I’m just going to ask that Mr. Trump take special care to keep his voice down when conferring with counsel to make sure the jury does not hear it,” Kaplan said before jurors returned to the courtroom after a morning break.

Earlier, without the jury in the courtroom, Trump could be seen slamming his hand on the defense table and uttering the word “man” when the judge again refused his lawyer’s request that the trial be suspended on Thursday so he could attend his mother-in-law’s funeral in Florida.

Trump, fresh from a win Monday in the Iowa caucuses, has made his various legal fights part of his campaign. He sat in on jury selection Tuesday, then jetted to a New Hampshire rally before returning to court Wednesday and repeating the cycle with another Granite State event Wednesday night.

Carroll was the first witness in a Manhattan federal court trial to determine damages, if any, that Trump owes her for remarks he made while he was president in June 2019 as he vehemently denied ever attacking her or knowing her. A jury last year already found that Trump sexually abused her and defamed her in a round of denials in October 2022.

Carroll’s testimony was somewhat of a tightrope walk because of limitations the judge has posed on the trial in light of the previous verdict and prior rulings he’s made restricting the infusion of political talk. Habba lobbed multiple objections seeking to prevent the jury from hearing details of Carroll’s allegations.

“I’m here because Donald Trump assaulted me and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened. He lied and he shattered my reputation,” Carroll testified.

“He has continued to lie. He lied last month. He lied on Sunday. He lied yesterday. And I am here to get my reputation back and to stop him from telling lies about me,” Carroll said.

Once a respected columnist, Carroll lamented: “Now, I’m known as the liar, the fraud and the whack job.” She became emotional as she read through some of hundreds of hateful messages she’s received from strangers, apologising at one point to the jury for reading the nasty language aloud.

Carroll said Trump’s smears “ended the world” she knew, costing her millions of readers and her “Ask E. Jean” advice column, which ran in Elle for more than 25 years. The magazine has said her contract ended for unrelated reasons.

Carroll said her worries about her personal safety after a stream of death threats led her to buy bullets for a gun she inherited from her father, install an electronic fence, warn her neighbors of threats and unleash her pit bull to roam freely on the property of the small cabin in the mountains of upstate New York where she lives alone.

She also brought security along for the trial this week and last May and said she’d thought often about hiring security more often to accompany her.

“Why don’t you?” her attorney, Roberta Kaplan — no relation to the judge — asked.

“Can’t afford it,” Carroll answered.

She took the stand after a hostile encounter between Habba and the judge — culminating in Trump’s desk slam — over his refusal to adjourn the trial on Thursday so Trump could attend the funeral for former first lady Melania Trump’s mother, Amalija Knavs, who died last week.

Habba called Judge Kaplan’s ruling “insanely prejudicial” and the judge soon afterward cut her off, saying he would “hear no further argument on it.”

Habba told the judge: “I don’t like to be spoken to that way, your honor.” When she mentioned the funeral again, the judge responded: “It’s denied. Sit down.”

Carroll’s testimony came nine months after she was in the same chair convincing a jury in the hopes that Trump could be held accountable in a way that would stop him from frequent verbal attacks against her.

Because the first jury found that Trump sexually abused Carroll in the 1990s and then defamed her in 2022, the new trial concerns only how much more — if anything — he’ll be ordered to pay her for other remarks he made in 2019 while he was president.

Carroll accused Trump of forcing himself on her in a luxury department store dressing room in 1996. Then, she alleges, he publicly impugned her honesty, her motives and even her sanity after she told the story publicly in a 2019 memoir.

Trump, 77, asserts that nothing ever happened between him and Carroll, 80, and that he never met her. He says a 1987 party photo of them and their then-spouses “doesn’t count” because it was a momentary greeting.

Trump did not attend the previous trial in the case last May, when a jury found he had sexually abused and defamed Carroll and awarded her $5 million in damages. The jury said, however, that Carroll hadn’t proven her claim that Trump raped her.

Carroll is now seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages.


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Sydney, Auckland are first major cities to kick off 2024 New Year’s celebrations

Sydney and Auckland have become the world’s first major cities to ring in 2024, with more than a million revelers cheering spectacular fireworks displays that lit up the skies over Sydney Harbor and New Zealand’s tallest structure, Sky Tower.

As the clock struck midnight in Australia‘s largest city, tons of explosives erupted in a 12-minute display that focused on the Sydney Harbor Bridge. More than 1 million people, a number equivalent to one in five of the city’s residents, watched from the shore and from boats in the harbor.

“It’s total madness,” said German tourist Janna Thomas, who had waited in line since 7:30 a.m. to secure a prime waterfront location in the Sydney Botanic Garden. “It’s not so easy to find a good place to sit, but the view is incredible.”

In Auckland, the light rain that fell all day had cleared as forecast by midnight over the city of 1.7 million people before the countdown began on an illuminated digital display near the top of the 328-meter (1,076-foot) communications and observation tower.

The ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and heightened tensions in parts of the world, are affecting this year’s New Year‘s Eve celebrations in a myriad of ways. Many cities were deploying extra security, and some places canceled New Year’s Eve events altogether.

More police than ever were deployed throughout Sydney. The waterfront has been the scene of heated pro-Palestinian protests after the sails of the Sydney Opera House were illuminated in the colors of the Israeli flag in response to the Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas that triggered the war.

Eight tonnes of fireworks launched in Sydney to celebrate the New Year

At the Vatican, Pope Francis recalled 2023 as a year marked by wartime suffering. During his traditional Sunday blessing from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, he offered prayers for “the tormented Ukrainian people and the Palestinian and Israeli populations, the Sudanese people and many others.”

“At the end of the year, we will have the courage to ask ourselves how many human lives have been shattered by armed conflict, how many dead and how much destruction, how much suffering, how much poverty,” the pontiff said. “Whoever has interest in these conflicts, listen to the voice of conscience.”

In New York City, officials and party organizers said they were prepared to ensure the safety of tens of thousands of revelers expected to flood Times Square in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

Mayor Eric Adams said there were “no specific threats” to the annual New Year’s Eve bash, which was set to feature live performances from Flo Rida, Megan Thee Stallion and LL Cool J, as well as televised appearances from Cardi B and others. Organizers said in-person attendance was expected to return to pre-COVID levels, even as foot traffic around Times Square remains down slightly since the pandemic.

Amid near-daily protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, New York City police said they would expand the security perimeter around the party, creating a “buffer zone” that would allow them to head off potential demonstrations.

Officials also planned to monitor any protests with drones, the mayor said.

“We will be out here with our canines, on horseback, our helicopters, our boats,” Adams said. “But as we saw last year, after having no specific threats, we get a threat.”

During last year’s New Year’s Eve party, a machete-wielding man attacked three police officers a few blocks from Times Square.

Paris celebrations to highlight 2024 Olympics

Security also will also be heightened across European cities on Sunday.

In France, 90,000 law enforcement officers were set to be deployed, domestic intelligence chief Céline Berthon said Friday.

Of those, 6,000 will be in Paris, where French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said over 1.5 million people are expected to attend celebrations on the Champs-Elysees.

Darmanin cited a “very high terrorist threat” because, in part, of “what is happening in Israel and Palestine,” referring to the Israel-Hamas war.

Darmanin said that police for the first time will be able to use drones as part of security work and that tens of thousands of firefighters and 5,000 soldiers would also be deployed.

New Year’s Eve celebrations in the French capital will center on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, including DJ sets, fireworks and video projections on the Arc de Triomphe, highlighting “changes in the city and faces of the Games,” according to the press service of the City of Paris. Other planned events include “the largest Mexican wave ever performed” and a “giant karaoke.”

New Year celebrations a ‘test’ for Paris ahead of 2024 Summer Olympics

The security challenge ahead of the Olympics was highlighted when a tourist was killed in a knife attack near the Eiffel Tower on Dec. 2. Large-scale attacks — such as that at the Bataclan in 2015, when Islamic extremists invaded the music hall and shot up cafe terraces, killing 130 people — also loom large.

In Berlin, some 4,500 police officers are expected to keep order and avoid riots like a year ago. Police in the German capital issued a ban on the traditional use of fire crackers for several streets across the city. They also banned a pro-Palestinian protest in the Neukoelln neighborhood of the city, which has seen several pro-Palestinian riots since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

In Russia, the country’s military actions in Ukraine have overshadowed end-of-year celebrations, with the usual fireworks and concert on Moscow’s Red Square canceled, as last year.

After shelling in the center of the Russian border city of Belgorod Saturday killed 24 people, some local authorities across Russia also canceled their usual firework displays, including in Vladivostok. Millions throughout Russia are expected to tune into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s address.

In Muslim-majority Pakistan, the government has banned all New Year’s Eve celebrations as an act of solidarity with the Palestinians.

In an overnight televised message, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar urged Pakistanis to “show solidarity with the oppressed people of Gaza” by beginning the new year with simplicity.

Kakar said Muslims across the world were saddened over Israel’s attacks on Gaza that resulted in the killings of thousands of innocent people.


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Ex-Trump lawyer Giuliani ordered to pay $148 million in damages for defaming Georgia poll workers

A jury awarded $148 million in damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation over lies he spread about them in 2020 that upended their lives with racist threats and harassment.

Issued on: Modified:

4 min

The damages verdict follows emotional testimony from Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who tearfully described becoming the target of a false conspiracy theory pushed by Giuliani and other Republicans as they tried to keep then-President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 election.

There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the jury foreperson read aloud the $75 million award in punitive damages for the women. Moss and Freeman were each awarded another roughly $36 million in other damages.

“Money will never solve all my problems,” Freeman told reporters outside Washington’s federal courthouse after the verdict. “I can never move back into the house that I call home. I will always have to be careful about where I go and who I choose to share my name with. I miss my home. I miss my neighbors and I miss my name.”

Giuliani didn’t appear to show any emotion as the verdict was read after about 10 hours of deliberations. Moss and Freeman hugged their attorneys after the jury left the courtroom and didn’t look at Giuliani as he left with his lawyer.

The former New York City mayor vowed to appeal, telling reporters that the “absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding.” 

“It will be reversed so quickly it will make your head spin, and the absurd number that just came in will help that actually,” he said. 

It’s not clear whether Giuliani will ever be able to pay the staggering amount. He had already been showing signs of financial strain as he defends himself against costly lawsuits and investigations stemming from his representation of Trump. In September, his former lawyer sued him, alleging Giuliani had paid only a fraction of nearly $1.6 million in legal fees he racked up. 

His attorney in the defamation case told jurors that the damages the women were seeking “would be the end of Mr. Giuliani.” 

Giuliani had already been found liable in the case and previously conceded in court documents that he falsely accused the women of ballot fraud. Even so, the former mayor continued to repeat his baseless allegations about the women in comments to reporters outside the Washington, D.C., courthouse this week.

Giuliani’s lawyer acknowledged that his client was wrong but insisted that Giuliani was not fully responsible for the vitriol the women faced. The defense sought to largely pin the blame on a right-wing website that published the surveillance video of the two women counting ballots. 

Giuliani’s defense rested Thursday morning without calling a single witness after the former mayor reversed course and decided not to take the stand. Giuliani’s lawyer had told jurors in his opening statement that they would hear from his client. But after Giuliani’s comments outside court, the judge barred him from claiming in testimony that his conspiracy theories were right. 

The judgment adds to growing financial and legal peril for Giuliani, who was among the loudest proponents of Trump’s false claims of election fraud that are now a key part of the criminal cases against the former president.

Giuliani is still facing his biggest test yet: fighting criminal charges in the Georgia case accusing Trump and 18 others of working to subvert the results of the 2020 election, won by Democrat Joe Biden, in that state. Giuliani has pleaded not guilty and characterized the case as politically motivated.

Jurors in the defamation case heard recordings of Giuliani falsely accusing the election workers of sneaking in ballots in suitcases, counting ballots multiple times and tampering with voting machines. Trump also repeated the conspiracy theories through his social media accounts. Lawyers for Moss and Freeman, who are Black, also played for jurors audio recordings of the graphic and racist threats the women received. 

On the witness stand, Moss and Freeman described fearing for their lives as hateful messages poured in. Freeman described strangers banging on her door and recounted fleeing her home after people came with bullhorns and the FBI told her she wasn’t safe. Moss told jurors she tried to change her appearance, seldom leaves her home and suffers from panic attacks. 

“Our greatest wish is that no one, no election worker, or voter or school board member or anyone else ever experiences anything like what we went through,” Moss told reporters after the verdict. “You all matter, and you are all important.”

Defense attorney Joseph Sibley had told jurors they should compensate the women for what they are owed, but he urged them to “remember this is a great man.”

An attorney for Moss and Freeman, in his closing argument, highlighted how Giuliani has not stopped repeating the false conspiracy theory asserting the workers interfered in the November 2020 presidential election. Attorney Michael Gottlieb played a video of Giuliani outside the courthouse on Monday, in which Giuliani falsely claimed the women were “engaged in changing votes.” Giuliani kept pressing false election claims even after the verdict, telling reporters, “I know my country had a president imposed on it by fraud.” 

“Mr. Giuliani has shown over and over again he will not take our client’s names out of his mouth,” Gottlieb said. “Facts will not stop him. He says he isn’t sorry and he’s telegraphing he will do this again. Believe him.”

The judge overseeing the election workers’ lawsuit had already ordered Giuliani and his business entities to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees. In holding Giuliani liable, the judge ruled that the former mayor gave “only lip service” to complying with his legal obligations while trying to portray himself as the victim in the case.


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Checks & Imbalances: Trump’s Profit Numbers Don’t Add Up

Today we continue looking at the latest news from Donald Trump’s ongoing trial in New York.

Bad Accounting Or Fraud? Trump’s Profit Numbers Don’t Add Up

Donald Trump is on trial in New York for allegedly lying to financial institutions for years about how much money he has. The potential fraud may not end there, reports Dan Alexander. Piles of private documents are now becoming public as part of the lawsuit, including a Deutsche Bank credit report that raises the question of whether the Trump Organization might have deceived its lender about the profitability of its golf resort in Miami and its hotel in Washington, D.C.

Trump’s business filed financial information to multiple entities, including Deutsche Bank, local authorities and an accounting firm. Documents from tax authorities and Deutsche Bank that detail the performance of Trump National Doral in Miami show identical figures of $92 million in revenue and $14 million of net operating income in 2015. The next year, the numbers varied slightly, with Deutsche showing $86 million of revenue and the tax documents listing $88 million. The two sets of numbers listed net operating income at about $12 million.

Then, in 2017, something interesting happened. Both the tax and bank documents showed a steep drop in revenue, to $75 million. The tax documents say that net operating income plunged as a result, to $4 million, a dive that makes some sense, given that it’s hard to slash costs at a resort that prides itself on high-class service. But the Deutsche Bank credit report says the Trump Organization somehow increased its net operating income to $13 million. It’s not easy to untangle all this, in part because of the Trump Organization’s strange bookkeeping practices.

MORE FROM FORBESBad Accounting Or Fraud? Trump’s Profit Numbers Don’t Add Up

Tracking Trump

Trump Thought His D.C. Hotel Would Bring In Twice As Much Money As It Did

After Donald Trump secured a lease to Washington D.C.’s historic post office in 2013 and spent more than $200 million over the next few years turning it into the ultra-luxury Trump International Hotel, the Trump Organization expected big things: Annual revenues above $100 million, profits exceeding $30 million and average room rates over $700. Trump’s lender, Deutsche Bank, found those projections realistic enough that it included them in credit reports released last week in a fraud trial that the New York attorney general is waging against Trump and his associates.

But the hotel proved to be a massive disappointment, reports Dan Alexander.

MORE FROM FORBESTrump Thought His D.C. Hotel Would Bring In Twice As Much Money As It Did

What Role Did Trump Play In Alleged Fraud Scheme? Here’s What Trial Has Revealed So Far.

Former President Donald Trump’s onetime “fixer” Michael Cohen made explosive claims on the stand this week as he implicated his former boss in an alleged fraud scheme to change valuations on financial documents for personal gain, reports Alison Durkee. Several witnesses in the ongoing civil trial against Trump and his business empire have tied the ex-president to alleged fraud.

MORE FROM FORBESWhat Role Did Trump Play In Alleged Fraud Scheme? Here’s What Trial Has Revealed So Far.

Can Trump Legally Run For President After Jan. 6 Riot? Trial Moves Forward After Colorado Judge Refuses To Dismiss Case

Former President Donald Trump will go on trial next week over whether he can be disqualified from Colorado’s presidential ballot under the 14th Amendment, after his last motion to dismiss the case failed Wednesday, reports Alison Durkee. It will mark the first trial in what’s expected to be a protracted legal battle across the country over whether Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election bar him from the presidency.

MORE FROM FORBESCan Trump Legally Run For President After Jan. 6 Riot? Trial Moves Forward After Colorado Judge Refuses To Dismiss Case

From The News Desk

Clarence Thomas: Here Are All The Ethics Scandals Involving The Supreme Court Justice Amid Unpaid RV Loan Revelations

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas never repaid a “substantial portion” of a $267,230 loan he received from a wealthy friend to pay off a luxury RV, the Senate Finance Committee announced Wednesday, reports Alison Durkee. It’s the latest revelation in a series of recent controversies involving Thomas, leading to calls for him to recuse himself from cases or be removed from office and for the court to impose a binding code of ethics.

MORE FROM FORBESJustice Clarence Thomas Did Not Repay Much Of $267,230 Loan From Friend To Buy RV

Who Is Mike Johnson? What To Know About The Newly Elected GOP House Speaker.

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) reported earning $30,000 last year from teaching online classes at Liberty University, according to his financial disclosure form, reports Sara Dorn. He also listed debts between $280,000 and $600,000 from a mortgage, personal loan and home equity line of credit. Most members of Congress earn a $174,000 salary. The speaker is paid $223,500, according to the Congressional Research Service.

MORE FROM FORBESWho Is Mike Johnson? What To Know About The Newly Elected GOP House Speaker-And Trump Ally.

By The Numbers


The number of investigations the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics has referred for review to the House Committee on Ethics in 2023, according to a report the office released last week.


The amount of cash on hand the campaign for former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) reported having in its termination report, which was filed on Saturday. Hunter resigned from Congress in 2020 after pleading guilty on to illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses.


How much former Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.)’s campaign spent on legal fees on Sept. 29.

Road To 2024

On “Forbes Eye on Iowa,” one-time 2024 Republican presidential candidate Perry Johnson talked about the presidential race, endorsed former President Trump and promoted his policy agenda.


A Deutsche Bank credit report said the net operating income at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C. measured $7.6 million in 2017. How much profit did statements covering the years ending August 31 of 2017 and 2018 appear to show?

a. $7.6 million

b. Close to $0

c. $6 million

d. $9 million

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‘Not in our name’: The Jewish New Yorkers speaking out against ‘dehumanisation’ of Palestinians

New York is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, a two million-strong community that has suffered anguish in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. Many Jewish New Yorkers back the Israeli government’s response to the attacks and have rallied in support of Israel. But others are unsettled by the military campaign in the Gaza Strip and the huge price paid by Palestinian civilians.

Around her neck, Jessica Murphy wears a delicate gold chain with a Hamsa hand pendant, a universal symbol of protection and strength. For Muslims it’s the Hand of Fatima, while Jews call it the Hand of Miriam, a talisman to ward off the evil eye and negative energy. 

“I’ve been feeling a lot of sadness … I’ve been feeling pretty distraught,” she says.

Murphy knows all about trauma. A Jewish New Yorker, she became a victim of terrorism at age 5 when her father was killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

“I think that allows me to empathise with the Israeli civilians who lost loved ones in the attacks last Saturday, while also empathising with Palestinians who lost family due to the retaliatory airstrikes,” she says.

Medical student, Jessica Murphy, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on 17 October, 2023. © Jessica Le Masurier

The 27-year-old medical student is watching the current turmoil in the Middle East closely. While she is horrified by the violence wrought on Israelis at the hands of Hamas, she is also outraged by Israel’s heavy-handed response.

“I can’t say I’m surprised at how Israel’s retaliating, given the history of this long conflict and military occupation,” she says. “But I am really devastated, and I’m fearful of what’s to come.”

Murphy is concerned that a false dichotomy is being created, whereby “you either support terrorism or you support the state of Israel”, she says.

Read more‘I refuse to be associated with Hamas’: Gazans in Paris lament ban on pro-Palestinian protests

It was long after the 9/11 attacks, when Murphy came of age, that she learnt about the US response to the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history.

“I was obviously a child when 9/11 happened, and it’s only many years after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the torture and detention of many innocent people at Guantanamo Bay, that I learned about those horrors the US committed, ostensibly in the name of 9/11 victims like my dad,” she recalls. 

Since then, Murphy has made a point of condemning retaliatory violence and holding the US government to a higher standard of morality and rule of law. 

“I feel that Israel is making a similar mistake that the United States did,” she adds, stressing that war crimes, however horrific, do not entitle countries to commit crimes of their own.

“War crimes by one party do not justify war crimes by another,” she says. “Obviously 9/11 was a war crime. Obviously, the attacks by Hamas were a war crime. But that does not justify war crimes by the United States in Iraq or by Israel in Gaza.”

Capitol protest

Murphy was part of a group of 1,000 or so protesters who gathered outside US Senator Chuck Schumer’s house on Friday, October 13, to encourage him and other politicians to stop funding the Israeli military.

“He (Schumer) is the most powerful Democratic senator in the country, and he has the power to call for a ceasefire and stop weapon sales to Israel, which is what we were asking him to do,” says Jewish peace activist Tal Frieden, who was also at the protest.

Frieden was arrested, along with other protesters, for blocking entry to the street where the senator resides. They chanted “Not in our name” throughout the protest.

He and Murphy are among a growing number of Jewish New Yorkers who have spoken out against what they say is the dehumanisation of the Palestinian people. 

Frieden’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors. “They’re Hungarian Jews. My great-grandmother survived a work camp in Hungary, and my grandfather hid in the countryside in Hungary,” he says.

Growing up, he says, his family taught him that “never again was never again for anyone”.

Frieden views the Israeli bombing of Gaza as “genocide”. UN legal experts have said that Israeli actions in Gaza could amount to ethnic cleansing. Palestinian officials say more than 4,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people. A group of Israeli experts on international law issued a statement on Sunday assessing that the Hamas terror group committed multiple war crimes in its assault on Israel and that its actions likely amounted to genocide.

Jewish peace activist Tal Frieden shows a photograph of a protest he attended in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on 13 October 2023.
Jewish peace activist Tal Frieden shows a photograph of a protest he attended in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on 13 October 2023. © Jessica Le Masurier

Frieden travelled to DC on Wednesday with an organisation called Jewish Voice for Peace to protest at the Capitol and call for a ceasefire. The group represents Jews in the US who are anti-Zionist, and who want to end US military aid to Israel. Hundreds of people attended the protest.

“We’re seeing over a million people being asked to leave their homes overnight, only for them to be bombed on their way to what they believe would be safety. We’re watching all of the electricity, water, aid [being] stopped going into Gaza by the Israeli military. And we’re watching all of these atrocities unfold,” he says. “And people across the country, across the world are asking, what can I do to stop this? And we’re watching as thousands of people are taking to the streets and saying, ‘not in our name’.”

Frieden thinks that the number of Jewish Americans joining the movement is increasing.

“The tides are changing, and we’re seeing more and more support for Palestinian liberation,” he says. 

The staunchly pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says the anti-war activists belong to “far-left radical organisations” and do not represent the majority of the Jewish community.

Gaza civilians ‘want the same things as the rest of us: peace and safety’

As Jewish diners tuck into traditional Middle Eastern dishes like makhlouba and fattah at a newly opened branch of the Palestinian restaurant Ayat on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, they are quick to express their concern for Palestinians caught in the crossfire. They say it is important to distinguish between Hamas and Palestinians as a whole.

Laurie Rohrich dines with her family at Ayat Palestinian restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side on 16 October, 2023.
Laurie Rohrich dines with her family at Ayat Palestinian restaurant on Manhattan’s Lower East Side on 16 October, 2023. © Jessica Le Masurier

“Hamas is a terrorist group but these people (civilians in Gaza) are just trying to live in 140 square miles, they have families, and they want the same things as the rest of us all want. Just peace and safety, food, shelter,” says Laurie Rohrich, a Jewish entrepreneur eating Palestinian mezze with her family. “You know, it just breaks my heart.”

The restaurant owners received a slew of one-star reviews and negative comments online right after the Hamas attacks on Israel. They say they traced most of them to Israeli accounts, to people who had never even dined at Ayat.

“And it just made me feel like this type of attitude doesn’t belong in New York,” says Abdul Elenani, the restaurant’s co-owner. 

At another table, Bonnie Stein is embracing her daughter. She’s been telling stories of her travels to Israel with a Palestinian dance troupe, which she says faced discrimination at the border crossing.

“Dehumanisation of the Palestinians after 70-some years already is really the root of a lot of the anger,” she says, burying her face in her hands and crying. Behind her, a mural shows a Palestinian woman wearing a black and white keffiyeh. A tear drop is falling from one eye; the other side of her face is covered by a Palestinian flag and an image of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem – a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Growing up in the Midwest with a Jewish education, we had a very one-sided view of Israel. And I didn’t really find out, until I was in my twenties, the reality of the conflict and how the ‘Nakba’, what they (the Palestinians) called the disaster, the catastrophe, happened,” she says. “We learned that the Israelis and the Holocaust survivors went to an empty land and just made a home, which was not true.”

Some of Bonnie’s friends will not speak to her at the moment because she has friends in Palestine. They say they do not agree with her political views.

“It’s not so much a political view,” she says. “It’s humanity, a view of humanity.”

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Checks & Imbalances: New York AG ‘Identified Likely Omissions’ In Trump Organization’s Response To Subpoenas

Today we look at the latest news from Donald Trump’s ongoing trial in New York.

This Is The Evidence Forbes Has That Trump’s Former CFO Lied Under Oath

Donald Trump’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, testified last week in a fraud case that the New York attorney general is waging against the former president and his associates, including Weisselberg, reports Dan Alexander. During that testimony, Weisselberg lied about Trump’s penthouse apartment at Trump Tower, saying “That was never a concern of mine. I never even thought about the apartment.”

Forbes published a story last week laying out the truth. “A review of old emails and notes, some of which the attorney general’s office does not possess, show that Weisselberg absolutely thought about Trump’s apartment—and played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years that it was worth more than it really was,” the story said.

Weisselberg’s testimony abruptly stopped after the article came out. Citing the story, the attorney general’s office explained to a judge in a letter dated October 18th that it identified “likely omissions from production around inquiries from Forbes in 2016.” The attorney general’s office went on to suggest that a monitor should conduct a forensic examination of Trump Organization data to make sure that the real estate firm produced all required documents.

Forbes does not know whether the Trump Organization produced all of its documents. The evidence that Forbes has that Weisselberg lied, which the attorney general’s office certainly does not have, is a collection of notes taken by Forbes reporters who were in touch with the Trump Organization over the years while estimating the size of Trump’s fortune. It is those notes that show Weisselberg thought about his boss’ penthouse a lot—contrary to his testimony—and that he consistently pushed Forbes to overvalue it.

MORE FROM FORBESThis Is The Evidence Forbes Has That Trump’s Former CFO Lied Under Oath

Tracking Trump

How Trump Fooled Deutsche Bank

The New York attorney general is suing Donald Trump and his associates for allegedly lying about his net worth to financial institutions, something he also did for years when speaking with reporters. Why would someone so rich care so much about what people thought he was worth? “It was good for financing,” Trump said in a 2015 interview with Forbes.

But despite Trump’s bluster, it long remained unclear whether his lies actually were good for financing. After all, banks conduct due diligence on borrowers. But documents submitted into evidence during the trial last week show that Trump’s longtime go-to lender, Deutsche Bank, fell for many of his lies, giving the bank a distorted view of its most famous client, reports Dan Alexander.

MORE FROM FORBESHow Trump Fooled Deutsche Bank

Trump Told CFO He Wanted Net Worth To ‘Go Up’ On Financial Statements, Exec Testifies At Trial

Former President Donald Trump told his ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg he wanted his net worth to “go up” on financial statements, a Trump Organization executive testified in court Monday, reports Alison Durkee. New York Attorney General Letitia James is arguing that the ex-president and his company committed fraud by intentionally inflating the value of their assets.

MORE FROM FORBESTrump Told CFO He Wanted Net Worth To ‘Go Up’ On Financial Statements, Exec Testifies At Trial

Trump’s SPAC Now Says Its 2021 Financial Statements ‘Should No Longer Be Relied Upon’

The company planning to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group, owner of the Truth Social platform, has now walked away from two years of financial statements after informing the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that its audited financials for 2021 “should no longer be relied upon.”

In May, Digital World Acquisition Corp issued a similar notice to the SEC regarding its financial statements for the year ending Dec. 31, 2022.

MORE FROM FORBESTrump’s SPAC Now Says Its 2021 Financial Statements ‘Should No Longer Be Relied Upon’

By The Numbers


The amount the campaign of Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) spent at the Amarillo Club in July and August, according to filings made last week. In December 2021, the Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” that Jackson violated the law by previously spending campaign funds at the club. The investigation moved on to the House Ethics Committee. In May 2022, that panel disclosed that it’s still investigating the matter. It has not provided another update.


The number of NDAs that were scrapped after a federal judge formalized a settlement agreement last week between Trump’s 2016 campaign and staffers.


The number of accounts the Biden campaign is following on Truth Social—just Donald Trump’s.

House Democratic Lawmaker Floats George W. Bush For Next Speaker Of The House

On “Forbes Newsroom,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) floated the idea of electing former President George W. Bush the next Speaker of the House.

From The News Desk

Here’s How Much Chris Christie Is Worth

Plenty of politicians make big money after leaving office: Just ask Nikki Haley, Mike Pence or Joe Biden, who all tapped into tried-and-true moneymaking methods for political figures—writing books, giving speeches, doing consulting or sitting on boards. But of all the people running for president today, nobody has played the game better than Chris Christie, reports Kyle Mullins.

The former New Jersey governor and his wife, Mary Pat, reported $1 million to $2 million in assets when Christie left office in 2018, plus a $1.3 million house in Morris County, New Jersey. Today, the couple is worth $15 million, according to Forbes’ estimates, meaning their net worth has roughly quadrupled. The Christies now have two homes in the Garden State, worth roughly $6 million total, plus a sizable portfolio of investments, a large pension from Christie’s law firm and two smaller ones from his time in government.

How’d they build such a big fortune in such a short period of time? By doing what Haley, Pence and Biden did, but on a bigger scale. Christie, a lifelong public servant who was among the poorest 2015 presidential hopefuls, is now one of the richest people vying for the Oval Office in 2024.

MORE FROM FORBESHere’s How Much Chris Christie Is Worth

Here’s How Much House Majority Leader Steve Scalise Is Worth

House majority leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) came up short in his battle to secure the 217 votes needed to replace ousted House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). But with the GOP still unable to coalesce behind a colleague, who knows what’s next? The New Orleans native has never run from a fight, rapidly returning to Congress after he was shot by a left-wing extremist in 2017—and again in September, after announcing he was diagnosed with cancer in August.

If Scalise does come back to claim the speakership, he will earn his second pay raise in less than a year, a $30,100 bump from his current $193,400 Congressional salary, reports Matt Durot. That would be substantial for the 58-year-old Scalise, whose nearly 30-year government career has yielded him a net worth of about $350,000, according to Forbes’ estimates.

MORE FROM FORBESHere’s How Much GOP House Speaker Nominee Steve Scalise Is Worth


Digital World Acquisition Corp. announced plans to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group in October 2021. In the two years since the intended deal was made public, what has not happened?

a. The SEC charged a former Digital World board member and two others with insider trading of the stock.

b. Digital World settled fraud charges with the commission for “making material misrepresentations” in its pre-IPO filings.

c. Investors backed out of $467 million in commitments.

d. The merger was finalized.

Check if you got it right here.

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Here’s How Much Chris Christie Is Worth

Christie’s net worth quadrupled after leaving the New Jersey governorship.

By Kyle Mullins, Forbes Staff

Plenty of politicians make big money after leaving office: Just ask Nikki Haley, Mike Pence or Joe Biden, who all tapped into tried-and-true moneymaking methods for political figures — writing books, giving speeches, doing consulting or sitting on boards. But of all the people running for president today, nobody has played the game better than Chris Christie.

The former New Jersey governor and his wife, Mary Pat, reported $1 million to $2 million in assets when Christie left office in 2018, plus a $1.3 million house in Morris County, New Jersey. Today, the couple is worth $15 million, according to Forbes’ estimates, meaning their net worth has roughly quadrupled. The Christies now have two homes in the Garden State, worth roughly $6 million total, plus a sizable portfolio of investments, a large pension from Christie’s law firm and two smaller ones from his time in government. How’d they build such a big fortune in such a short period of time? By doing what Haley, Pence and Biden did, but on a bigger scale. Christie, a lifelong public servant who was among the poorest 2015 presidential hopefuls, is now one of the richest people vying for the Oval Office in 2024.

Christie’s Cash

The former New Jersey governor and his Wall Street wife have two houses, three pensions and a big pile of investments between them.

Christie grew up solidly middle class. He was born in 1962 in Newark, but his parents moved to the suburbs in the mid-1960s. His father held a job at Peat Marwick, the “P” and “M” in what is today the accounting giant KPMG. His mother worked at a typewriter company. In his 2019 memoir, Christie credits his interest in politics to his grandmother, with whom he watched “Meet the Press” from a young age. He remembers identifying as a Republican after watching former President Gerald Ford speak at the 1976 GOP convention.

A political science major, Christie met Mary Pat, a business student who was a year behind him, at the University of Delaware (also Joe Biden’s alma mater). He was elected student body president as a junior, and when Mary Pat ran to succeed him the following year, Chris “persuaded” her challenger to step aside and let her win unopposed. “You really don’t want to run,” Christie told the other candidate, according to his book, “because, if you do, I’m gonna work as hard as I can to make sure you lose, and that would be humiliating.” When the predictable election results were announced, the student newspaper congratulated her, adding “the suspense was killing us.”

The couple married in 1986, when Christie was a law student at Seton Hall University. Money was tight—Mary Pat made $20,000 a year, roughly $56,000 today, working at a New York investment bank, and Chris worked nights at a small law firm while completing his degree. The strain of a new marriage got to them, especially after they moved into a fixer-upper starter home in Cranford, New Jersey in 1988. They separated twice and tried counseling, but it took three years, more financial stability and a new house to repair their marriage.

The Christies sold their Cranford place in 1991 for $17,500 less than they paid for it, but by then the couple could clearly take the hit, because they turned around and borrowed $300,000 to build a 3,700-square-foot home in Mendham, New Jersey. “We were socking money away,” Christie writes about this period, noting Mary Pat’s ascendency on Wall Street as a junk bond saleswoman and his budding career as a trial lawyer. Presumably wanting more space as they began to raise a family, the Christies sold their house in 1998 for $630,000 and bought a 7,000-square-foot home nearby for $775,000. They still own the property, which Forbes estimates is worth $2 million today before subtracting an estimated $500,000 left on their mortgage.

As Christie’s bank account grew in the 1990s, so did his political clout. He took a leave of absence from his law firm job to work for George H.W. Bush’s reelection campaign in New Jersey in 1992. After a short stint in county government, he joined the campaign of H.W. ‘s son—which proved more successful. President George W. Bush rewarded Christie with an appointment as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, and he took office in January 2002.

Under Christie, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office became known for public corruption prosecutions, securing 130 convictions of elected and appointed officials in seven years. He also had run-ins with two brash New York real estate barons that would shape his future in politics. The first was with Jared Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, who Christie convicted for various financial crimes in 2005. The second was with Donald Trump, who he befriended in 2002 shortly after entering office.

Following Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, Christie resigned as U.S. Attorney, leaving him with a federal pension worth around $90,000 today. In November 2009, he was elected New Jersey governor, beating a Democratic incumbent. The office came with a $175,000 salary and an official residence in Princeton, though the Christies kept the family in Mendham so the kids could stay in their schools. Mary Pat, who at this point was making more than $500,000 a year as a vice president at a Wall Street investment firm, was the family’s main breadwinner.

As governor, Christie quickly built up a national profile picking fights with teachers unions, refusing to raise taxes and going viral for combative exchanges with reporters and voters. The blue-state governor won reelection in 2013 in a landslide, overcame the “Bridgegate” scandal and announced a run for president in 2015.

It went poorly. Christie’s old friend, Trump, grabbed hold of the party and never let go. Christie dropped out after the first two primaries, then joined the Trump campaign as an advisor and head of the transition team. Squabbles with Jared Kushner—who, in Christie’s telling, never truly forgave him for prosecuting his father a decade before—and other campaign staff ultimately led to his sidelining. When Trump shocked the world in November 2016, and Christie wasn’t offered the attorney general spot he wanted, he returned to New Jersey for his final year as governor.

The Christies were doing just fine when he left office, given the $2 million or so in assets they reported at the time. Mary Pat earned more than $500,000 that year in deferred compensation from another Wall Street firm, which she left in 2015 to stay at home with her kids.

But, evidently, it wasn’t enough. “I want to have fun, and I want to make money,” Christie told The New York Times in 2017 before leaving office. He got to work quickly, signing onto ABC News as a contributor in January 2018 and starting both his own law firm and a consulting and lobbying shop called Christie 55 Solutions within three months. Apparently his businesses were a quick success, because one of the first things he and his wife did was sink $2.9 million into a beachfront house in Bay Head, New Jersey in June 2018, borrowing $1.7 million to pay for it. They paid off that loan by 2020. It’s been a good investment: The house is worth over $4.3 million today.

The cash kept coming. The Christies’ consulting and lobbying work paid the couple $3.2 million between January 2022 and mid-2023 alone; clients have included big hospitals, Puerto Rican government entities and pharmaceutical company Pacira BioSciences—on whose board Christie sits. They’ve also made plenty from the Christie Law Firm, which paid the former governor about $700,000 during that time period and gave him a pension that Forbes estimates is worth between $1 million and $4 million. (The Christie campaign did not answer a list of questions about his income and assets.)

The couple reported income from a combined six corporate boards—four private companies and two that are publicly traded, Pacira and a Swedish pharma firm named Orexo. They earned roughly $600,000 from those boards between early 2022 and the middle of 2023. Christie raked in $475,000 from the commentator gig at ABC and more than $400,000 in speaking fees over the same time period. He’s also published two books, his memoir in 2019 and a “guide for recapturing Republican glory” in 2021. His contract details are unknown, but the two have sold 33,000 and 9,100 copies respectively, according to data from BookScan.

The Christies have plowed the rest of their cash into an investment portfolio that includes hundreds of different stocks, bonds and index funds, including sizable holdings of blue-chip tech companies like Apple and Microsoft. That pile of investments threw off more than $250,000 in dividends and other income since January 2022, according to Christie’s most recent financial disclosure. The couple also reports capital gains of between $200,000 and $2 million from selling two holdings in the last year and a half. All told, the Christies’ fortune has ballooned to an estimated $15 million, more than every Republican presidential hopeful except North Dakota governor and software mogul Doug Burgum and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

And, of course, his former friend, Donald Trump, who has far more money—and support—than any other Republican candidate. The Christie-Trump relationship has soured since the January 6th riots at the Capitol and Trump’s various indictments. If Christie continues to poll in the single digits, though, at least his family is set up for a very comfortable second political retirement.


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Mapping Billionaire Wealth: Where The Richest Americans Live Now Vs. Two Decades Ago

Billionaires love sunshine and low taxes — but not always.

By Monica Hunter-Hart, Contributor

“California used to be the Golden State. Now it’s rusted and destroyed,” says energy drinks magnate Russ Weiner. In a way, the state’s flush with gold; California is a treasure trove of extreme wealth. But some of its most affluent residents, including Weiner (worth an estimated $4.8 billion as of the date of publishing), have also been moving away, Forbes finds in a 20-year analysis of the annual Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans.

California has consistently been home to more members of The Forbes 400 than any other state, and now has 87. But that’s six fewer than two decades ago. Plenty of California-based tech tycoons moved on and off the list over the years as their fortunes fluctuated with the stock market, but some disappeared because billionaires just up and left. Over the past 20 years, while gaining new Forbes 400 residents, California lost 19 of them to other states, particularly Texas, Nevada and Florida, where Rockstar Energy drink founder Weiner moved in 2009.

What made him want to skip town? “Crime, homelessness, education, taxes,” he says. Oh, and Democrats.

Weiner is far from the only uber-wealthy entrepreneur who’s been chasing both rays and lower taxes. Florida and Texas, which have neither state income tax nor state capital gains tax, both saw dramatic 20-year upticks in residents who made the 400 list. Texas went from 36 to 45, a 25% jump, while Florida — stunningly — doubled from 23 to 46 members of the list. Most of the increase in Florida came from Forbes 400 members moving there. That includes the likes of hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin, a former longtime resident of Chicago, who also relocated his firm Citadel to Miami because he said it offered a better corporate environment; Paychex founder Tom Golisano, who said he was escaping New York’s high taxes when he moved to Naples in 2009; Charles B. Johnson, who moved to Palm Beach from California after retiring from money management firm Franklin Resources; and Thomas Peterffy of Interactive Brokers, who left Connecticut around 2015, also for Palm Beach.

An outsized number of the last decade’s Florida transplants came from the northeastern elite enclaves of New York, Connecticut and Illinois, and most made their fortunes in finance and investments. A far smaller amount of the list’s new Floridians created fortunes in the Sunshine State from the start, like Nick Caporella, whose National Beverage makes the popular La Croix bubbly water.

The picture is much dimmer in the Midwest, which has been shedding the extremely wealthy. The number of richest Americans there dropped 42% over the past two decades, from 73 to 42, mostly because Heartland billionaires’ fortunes decreased or didn’t keep pace with the rest of the country. (The cutoff to make the Forbes 400 rose from $600 million in 2003 to $2.9 billion in 2023.) But some just moved to warmer pastures, like movie producer Gigi Pritzker (who changed her permanent address from Chicago to California around 2019) or two heirs to the Walmart fortune (from Missouri to Texas and Nevada).

And about 30% of Midwesterners on the 2003 and 2013 Forbes 400 lists have since dropped off because they passed away. In the last few years, that’s included iconic figures like Berkshire Hathaway’s Walter Scott Jr. (a former Omaha resident who was a close friend of Warren Buffett) and Chicago’s Sam Zell (forefather of the modern real estate investment trust), and a bit before them, William Ford Sr, the last grandchild of Henry Ford, who lived in Michigan. The manufacturing industry saw a particularly high number of drop-offs — paralleling the decades-long manufacturing decline in the Midwest — as did media, real estate and retail.

Minnesota has been hit hardest. It ranked No. 9 among states with the most 400 members in 2003, when there were 11, but has now been completely drained out. A single family had an outsized impact on that decline. The clan behind the world’s biggest agriculture company, Cargill, used to be concentrated in the North Star State, where the business is still based. But Cargill’s old guard has died and the richest family members are now scattered across the country in Montana, Wisconsin, Missouri and California.

This scenario — where a company’s big shareholders live far from the company itself — is actually not unusual. And it may be even more common these days in a place like Minnesota, says the Tax Foundation’s Jared Walczak.

“Minnesota does very well with traditional C corporations,” says Walczak. “It’s high taxes, but those high taxes historically have not fallen very heavily on businesses, so it’s been a very competitive place to operate your Fortune 500 company. But you also have a situation where states like this may be unattractive for the C-suites themselves,” perhaps in part because of those higher individual taxes. And in an increasingly mobile environment, he points out, not even high-level executives need to live where they work.

Although taxes matter, Walczak and other analysts stress that it’s far from the only consideration for billionaires when it comes to planning where to live. It often isn’t even the top factor.

“Many state lawmakers overestimate how sensitive rich people are to a few percentage points’ difference in the state tax rate,” says Carl Davis of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Richard Auxier of the Tax Policy Center agrees: “If you’re in West Virginia or Michigan and you think the taxes are the only thing that’s different about your state and Florida and Texas, I really need you to think a bit harder.”

Instead, the decision of where to live is hyper-personal, they say, noting that being closer to family is a frequent reason why billionaires move. The uber-wealthy also pursue top education systems, keeping in mind both their kids as well as their company workforces. Urban amenities are a big draw. So are safe neighborhoods, good infrastructure and centers of culture.

The culture is what AriZona Iced Tea founder Don Vultaggio, raised in Brooklyn and worth an estimated $5.6 billion, loves about New York City. (Vultaggio now lives outside the city, in the Long Island enclave of Port Washington.) He remembers a conversation he once had with Andrew Cuomo: “‘Governor, businesses don’t mind paying taxes. We like it here. Museums, theater. It’s great.’” Many must agree, as the number of New Yorkers on the 400 shot up 27% over the past two decades, from 49 to 62.

Extreme wealth has been consolidating in the United States. Back in 2003, the 10 states with the most 400 members had 275 of them; today, they have 297. Exactly 60% of the billionaires who made the list this year live in just four states: California, New York, Florida and Texas — the four states with the largest populations, together home to one third of all Americans. “The growing geographic concentration helps explain our populist politics these days,” says Darrell West, author of the 2014 book Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust. “Much of the country is being left behind in terms of economic activity.”

A handful of states — Maine, Delaware, North Dakota, New Mexico and Alaska — haven’t had a resident make The Forbes 400 list in at least two decades. On the other hand, the picture has been getting much rosier in places like Arizona and Georgia, which joined the top 10 states for the first time in 2014 (when the latter was tied with Maryland and Tennessee at 7 list members) and now ranks No. 6 with 10 Forbes 400 residents. Iowa and Kentucky both had no 400 members in 2003 and now each have one: Harry Stine (worth an estimated $8.8 billion, who joined the list in 2014), and Tamara Gustavson ($7.4 billion, 2011), respectively.

This is also a great year for Mississippi, which made the list for only the second time in two decades. Joining the ranks of the richest are Hattiesburg’s Duff brothers, who are behind the holding company Duff Capital Investors, which owns construction, energy and trucking firms.

“Mississippi is a good place to do business, mainly because of our people, who are hard-working, optimistic and dedicated to providing a better future for their families,” says Thomas Duff, who’s worth an estimated $3 billion. “Keeping a Mississippi-based operation for our companies has helped us stay true to our values.”

Sitting at the very bottom of the Forbes wealth ranking is Alaska, which has never had a resident make the 400 list since it was first published in 1982. That does constitute a loss for the Last Frontier.

“You would love to have billionaires living in your state,” says the Tax Policy Center’s Auxier, explaining that the attraction is not just tax revenue but also the companies the wealthy often start or bring. “Someone just sitting on their money, they’ll take them, they don’t want to lose them — but if you talk to someone in these states, what they really want is a billionaire who is participating in the economy and hopefully has businesses in the state.”

Of course, there’s only so much a state can do to court the rich. With great wealth comes great mobility. The Americans with the deepest pockets will go where they want.


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Trump Fraud Trial: AG Argues Ex-President Gained $1 Billion Through Fraud As His Attorney Claims Trump Is ‘Right About Real Estate’


The trial determining whether former President Donald Trump and his business committed fraud by inflating their assets began with opening statements on Monday, as the New York attorney general’s office argued Trump knowingly committed widespread fraud while his lawyer claimed the former president did nothing wrong.

Key Facts

New York AG Letitia James is suing Trump, his business associates—including his sons—and the Trump Organization, claiming they fraudulently inflated the value of business assets in order to obtain more favorable business terms and boost Trump’s net worth by as much as $3.6 billion.

Though Judge Arthur Engoron has already found Trump and his business liable for fraud by misstating the value of their assets, attorney Kevin Wallace from the AG’s office said Monday prosecutors will argue at trial the “defendants engaged in repeated, persistent illegal acts in the conduct of business,” including falsification of business records and insurance fraud, and that there’s “ample evidence” showing the defendants knew the fraudulent valuations were false, as quoted by the New York Times and Washington Post.

Prosecutors showed testimony from ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen alleging he and then-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg would inflate the value of Trump’s assets in order to boost his net worth so he would be higher on Forbesbillionaires list, with Cohen testifying they would “use each of [Trump’s]

Reuters reports the AG’s attorney claimed Trump garnered more than $1 billion as a result of his fraudulent reporting, and Wallace alleged the false valuations also resulted in the Trump Organization getting more favorable interest rates and persuading banks to to take on hidden risk “to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars,” as quoted by CNN.

Trump’s attorney Christopher Kise argued in his opening statement the former president has made “many billions of dollars being right about real estate investments” and “did not make any false statements” or act fraudulently, as quoted by the Times, alleging the valuations were subjective and that in real estate, “buyers have a view, sellers have a view, none of them are wrong.”

Kise argued the banks that lent money to Trump made money and that any disparate valuations did not have an impact, noting Deutsche Bank underwrote a loan to Trump even though it valued his net worth as being $2 billion less than he did.

What To Watch For

The trial against Trump and his company is expected to last until December, and Clifford Robert, who represents Trump’s sons in the case, told the court Monday that Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., will all testify as part of the trial. The trial is a bench trial, meaning the judge will decide the case and not a jury, which Engoron noted Monday was because nobody in the case requested a jury. Engoron has already ordered Trump’s business certificates to be canceled as part of his ruling finding the former president liable for fraud, but the trial will determine what other penalties Trump and his company could face, including a $250 million fine and barring Trump from any commercial real estate acquisitions, or blocking him and his children leading any New York companies for the next five years.

Crucial Quote

“While it may be one thing to exaggerate for Forbes magazine … you cannot do it while conducting business in the state of New York,” Wallace said during his opening statement, as quoted by CNN.

Chief Critic

“There was no intent to defraud, there was no illegality, there was no default, there was no breach, there was no reliance from the banks, there were no unjust profits, and there were no victims,” Kise argued in his opening statement Monday, as quoted by Reuters.

Forbes Valuation

$2.5 billion. That’s Trump’s estimated net worth, according to Forbes’ real-time tracker, and he ranked 1217th on our 2023 billionaires’ list. In the years covered by the lawsuit, 2011 to 2021, Trump’s net worth as estimated by Forbes ranged between $2.4 billion in 2011 to $4.5 billion in 2015. Prior to James’ lawsuit, Forbes had exposed previous Trump efforts to misstate the size and value of his real estate properties, including exaggerating the size of his Manhattan penthouse, which has been cited in the attorney general’s case against Trump.


Trump was present in court on Monday as the trial got underway and listened to the opening statements, with the Times reporting that during the hearing he alternated between appearing “bored” and “angry” and was seen yawning and “fidgeting in his seat.” The former president addressed reporters after opening statements concluded, saying, “We’re going to be here for months with a judge that already made up his mind. It’s ridiculous.” “Other than that, things went very well,” Trump added.

Key Background

James sued Trump, his business associates and company in November 2022 following a yearslong investigation, alleging the ex-president and his company had made more than 200 false statements that misstated the value of his assets to get more favorable business deals and inflate his own net worth. The AG opened the investigation in March 2019 based on congressional testimony by Cohen, who said Trump had fraudulently inflated or deflated the value of his assets on financial statements for personal gain. The lawsuit makes such claims as that Trump overstated the size of his Manhattan penthouse and overvalued Mar-A-Lago by falsely claiming it’s a private residence. Engoron agreed Trump inflated the valuations in his ruling last week finding Trump and his company liable for fraud, writing Trump’s depictions of the valuations as being merely subjective are out of “a fantasy world, not the real world.” Of his penthouse overstatement, Engoron wrote, “A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud.” Trump has maintained the allegations against him and his company are false and a “witch hunt,” repeatedly attacking James and Engoron as being biased against him.

Further Reading

Trump Arrives In Manhattan Court As Fraud Trial Kicks Off (Forbes)

Trump Committed Fraud By Inflating His Assets, Judge Rules (Forbes)

How Trump, Master Of Avoiding Paper Trails, Finally Got Caught With One (Forbes)

The Definitive Net Worth Of Donald Trump (Forbes)

How Forbes Exposed Trump’s Lies About The Size Of His Penthouse (Forbes)

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