After four days of testimony and two trips to the witness stand, former Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney broke down in tears on Tuesday, telling the court the toll of the numerous investigations and accusations of misconduct drove him to leave the company he loved working for after 35 years.
“I just couldn’t do it anymore,” McConney said. “I just wanted to relax and stop being accused of misrepresenting assets for the company that I loved working for.”
The emotional outcry came when Jesus Suarez, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, asked McConney before the lunch break why he left the Trump Org.
Before answering the question McConney took a long pause, removed his glasses, and threw his arms in the air. Trump attorney Alina Habba motioned to a court officer to bring him a box of tissues. Judge Arthur Engoron gave her a thumbs up.
He apologized for his emotional reaction, “Sorry.”
The former long-time Trump Org. controller, who is a co-defendant in the civil fraud trial, said being subjected to several subpoenas and testifying in connection to multiple government cases accusing him of wrongdoing had taken a toll on him.
Pausing at times to wipe his eyes, McConney gave a lengthy answer describing his love for working for the company and said he remains proud of his 35-year career.
“I feel proud of what I did. I think everything was justified. Numbers don’t represent fully what these assets are worth,” McConney said. “I got to do a lot of things normally an accountant wouldn’t be able to do. I’m very proud of the work I did for 35 years.”
But after several years of investigations accusing him of inflating asset valuations on Trump’s financial statements, he grew frustrated and said, “I gave up.”
McConney acknowledged on cross examination that he’s received all but $125,000 of a $500,000 severance package from Trump Org.
Assistant New York Attorney General Andrew Amer pushed back on McConney’s testimony that it was the outside accounting firm Mazars that wrote most of the notes and disclaimers on Trump’s personal financial statements.
McConney, under questioning from a Trump attorney on Monday, shifted the blame to Mazars and Donald Bender, who he says reviewed and could have advised them about any inflated asset values on Trump’s personal financial statements that are at the heart of the civil fraud trial.
Amer showed McConney a collection of his own handwritten edits on the statement drafts that he had attributed to Mazars in earlier testimony.
At one point while reviewing his own handwritten notes, McConney acknowledged his memory was “incorrect” about a specific disclosure on Trump’s statement. Seeing the handwritten edits also published in the final statement version, he acknowledged he must have primarily written the disclosure about asset valuations that deviated from generally accepted accounting principles.
Amer also suggested McConney was involved in the financial statements as recently as 2021 although he testified earlier at trial that he passed off the duty to another accounting executive Patrick Birney around 2016.
Amer showed the court handwritten notations from McConney on 2021 financial statement drafts.
Among the 2021 notes, the former controller wrote that Eric Trump needed to review the footnotes for the section on club facilities. On another page McConney wrote that Eric and his brother Donald Trump Jr, both defendants in the case, should review the statements.
McConney eventually said, “I had a little bit of input.”
McConney said he did the best he could to make the notes on his spreadsheets accurate “to let the reader of the spreadsheet know where the numbers were coming from.”
The trial will resume Monday after the Thanksgiving break with Trump Hotels CFO Mark Hawthorn expected to testify.
Deutsche Bank lenders who worked with Trump Org. on several loans at issue in this case are expected to testify under subpoena next Tuesday.
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