Dec 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Forbes editors testify before Trump grand jury

Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City.

Former President Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City. Photo: James Devaney/GC Images

Two Forbes magazine editors testified Thursday before the grand jury investigating former President Trump and his business practices, according to a post on Forbes' website.

Driving the news: Forbes chief content officer and editor Randall Lane wrote in the post that he answered questions about articles he wrote in 2015 about Trump's fixation with appearing on the magazine's annual list of wealthiest people.

  • Lane said he testified for about 20 minutes and he confirmed various aspects of the articles he wrote in 2015, including the methodology that goes into the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans.
  • He also said he confirmed that of the approximately 1,600 people who have been on the Forbes 400 since 1982, none of them "have been more fixated on their net worth than Donald Trump," per the post.
  • Lane also confirmed that Trump told him, "I look better if I’m worth $10 billion than if I’m worth $4 billion," and that Trump told said that a higher net worth number "was good for financing." 
  • Deputy wealth editor Chase Peterson-Withorn also testified, answering questions about a 2017 article he wrote about the size and value of Trump’s apartment at Trump Tower.

The big picture: The testimony comes as Manhattan prosecutors seek to determine whether Trump "committed fraud by exaggerating his wealth, not only to Forbes but to banks to secure more favorable loan terms," AP reports.

  • Trump's company, Trump Organization, and its finance chief, Allen Weisselberg in June were charged with tax fraud and are accused of evading taxes on lucrative fringe benefits, per AP.
  • Lane and Peterson-Withorn fought the subpoenas for their testimony, arguing that the testimonies "set a dangerous precedent" for journalistic integrity and potentially have a "chilling effect" on sources.

Go deeper: New York AG seeks Trump deposition in fraud investigation

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