Trump lawyers demand trial in defamation case

Mon May 18, 2009 5:39pm EDT
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By Jon Hurdle

CAMDEN, New Jersey (Reuters) - Lawyers for real estate mogul Donald Trump urged a judge on Monday to allow his defamation case against a journalist to go forward, saying the writer damaged his reputation by contending he is not a billionaire.

But lawyers for author Timothy O'Brien and his publisher, Time Warner Inc unit Warner Books, denied Trump had lost business opportunities as a result of the 2005 book, and urged New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michele Fox to dismiss the lawsuit.

Fox, after a two-hour hearing, said she would rule within two months on whether the case should be thrown out or go to a jury trial in October.

Trump, who filed the lawsuit in 2006 and is seeking billions in damages, did not attend the proceedings.

The book, "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald," cited three unnamed sources estimating Trump's worth at $150 million to $250 million, much less than the billions that the developer and television personality has said he is worth.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Monday, Trump said he is worth $5 billion, not counting the value of his brand name.

That follows a deposition given to O'Brien's lawyers in which Trump put his wealth at more than $4 billion, the Journal said.

In 2005, Deutsche Bank estimated his net worth as $788 million in a calculation made for the bank's underwriting of a $640 million construction loan for some of Trump's Chicago properties, the newspaper reported.   Continued...