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Closing arguments have wrapped up in New York AG Letitia James’ civil case against Donald Trump. According to the partisan Democrat, who promised during her campaign for office to take down the former president, Trump intended to defraud banks by “overvaluing” his assets.

Did that happen, though? There’s not only reason to think it didn’t, but there’s even more reason to believe it doesn’t matter anyway. That was Kevin O’Leary’s argument when he showed up on CNN on Friday. In just a few minutes, the investor, who is worth $400 million, took James to the cleaners with perhaps the most concise and easy-to-understand takedown of her case I’ve seen. 

O’LEARY: Well, let’s leave out Trump for a minute, and let’s leave out politics, and just talk about what happens in real estate development anywhere. So, if you’re a developer and you’ve got a building on the block, anywhere in America, and it’s worth, let’s say, $500 million, and you want to build a building right beside it, you go to the bank and say, “This building is worth $500 million. I’d like to borrow a construction finance loan against this asset, and I want you to tell me it’s worth $500 million too.”

And the bank negotiates with you, and says, “Well no, we think it’s worth $400 million,” and you fight it out. You are always trying to show your assets in the brightest light with the sunshine you can possibly determine for them. You want them to be worth the very most because you’re only going to get a 40 to 50 percent loan to value, as it’s called. Then you borrow that money, in the case of a $500 million asset, maybe you get $250 million, and you build the new building with a construction finance loan. So that’s what this case is all about. 

And by the way, forget about Trump, every single real estate developer everywhere on earth does this. They always talk about their asset being worth a lot and the bank says no. That’s just the way it is. So in this case, what I’m trying to figure out, and I’m not pro or con, or I don’t care about the politics, who lost money? Nobody. The bank got paid back the construction finance loan, and a new building was built. If you’re going to sue this case and win, you’ve gotta sue every real estate developer everywhere. This is all they do. This is what they do all day long every day. So I don’t think this thing will ever survive appeal regardless of what the fine is. This doesn’t even make sense. 

Now look, I understand Trump has a lot of problems in other indictments and everything else, but if you’re a real estate developer, you’re watching this and saying, “What is this? This is ridiculous.”

In other words, part of declaring your asset value to a bank is knowing that they will then do their own research and offer a compromise position. It is not up to the borrower to know exactly what a property is worth because there are a myriad of variables that could produce a different number depending on who is deciding on the appraisal.

What Trump essentially did was declare the highest value he thought he could, knowing that the bank would likely disagree and offer less. That is exactly what happened, and in the end, the bank was paid back per the terms it agreed to. No bank simply accepts at face value an appraisal offered by a borrower. 

O’Leary’s point is that how things happen is how things always happen in real estate development. But because Trump is involved, the rules have suddenly changed, with James deciding it is now fraud to essentially negotiate an asset’s value with a bank. That she secured a laughably biased judge who borders on parody at times is the only reason this case has gotten this far. 

I expect the judge to rule against Trump in the coming days, and I expect his judgment to be almost immediately frozen pending appeal. It may take years, but the former president will almost certainly win this legal battle.