Major Blow to Former President’s Legal Battles….
In a significant development, a New York judge, Arthur F Engoron, has ruled that Donald Trump and his associates committed fraud by inflating his wealth and assets by billions of dollars. This conclusion comes after a sweeping lawsuit and a years-long investigation by the state’s attorney general into Trump’s business empire.
The ruling, issued on September 26, found that Trump, along with his two adult sons, his companies, and key associates, engaged in fraud by exaggerating the value of assets and inflating his net worth on various documents to secure deals and financing from banks and insurers.
Judge Engoron’s decision goes beyond mere words, as he has ordered several of Trump’s licenses to be rescinded, effectively disrupting his ability to conduct business in the state. Additionally, an independent monitor will continue to oversee compliance with the order and scrutinize Trump’s financial dealings with lenders, insurers, and others.
This ruling follows a $250 million civil suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has been investigating long-standing fraud allegations surrounding Trump’s business practices. The judgment, which arrived just days before the start of a non-jury trial, marks a major victory for James and state investigators, addressing key claims in the lawsuit that Trump’s legal team had repeatedly attempted to dismiss. Trump, in response, has sought legal action to block the trial from proceeding, with a state appeals court expected to rule on his case in the coming week.
Instead of proceeding to a full trial, Judge Engoron’s decision narrows the issues to be considered, dealing a significant blow to Trump’s mounting legal challenges, which include four criminal indictments and another defamation lawsuit. All of this comes as Trump seeks the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
In a fiery response posted to his Truth Social account, the former president vehemently denied the judge’s findings, asserting that they are “false.” He claimed that his true worth is “much more” than what is presented in filings, emphasizing the value of his “brand.” Trump attempted to defend the statements labeled as fraudulent by referring to a “disclaimer clause,” which he argues places the responsibility on anyone reviewing the data to conduct their own research and analysis to verify the claims. However, the judge’s ruling makes it clear that Trump cannot rely on a disclaimer to misrepresent facts.
Trump also accused his company of being “slandered and maligned” in what he described as a “politically motivated witch hunt.” He called on the “highest courts in the state” and federal authorities for help.
Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit, following a three-year investigation and a review of millions of documents, aims to recover $250 million in lost revenue and penalties and secure a judge’s order permanently barring the Trumps from holding any offices with businesses in the state.
Recent filings from James’s office suggest that Trump fraudulently inflated his net worth by as much as $2.2 billion in one year and by hundreds of millions of dollars in other years over a decade. Her motion for partial summary judgment estimates that Trump inflated his net worth by $812 million to $2.2 billion annually from 2011 to 2021.
This latest legal battle adds to the already contentious relationship between Trump and Black Democratic elected prosecutors, whom he has repeatedly branded as “racists” leading politically motivated investigations to prevent him from running for office.
The lawsuit alleges that the Trump Organization and its key players made over 200 false and misleading evaluations of its assets from 2011 to 2021. Court documents reveal a pattern of questionable business practices, including fraudulent valuations of properties such as Trump’s New York golf course and Manhattan tower.
Last year, two Trump Organization subsidiaries were found guilty of criminal fraud charges related to a “culture of fraud and deception,” ultimately resulting in a $1.6 million fine. The Trump Organization’s long-time CFO, Allen Weisselberg, who is implicated in James’s civil suit, previously pleaded guilty to several related crimes.