New York says Trump should be held accountable for fraud, even before a trial

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These activities included the submission of false statements to financial institutions and insurers, as well as an overstatement of his net worth by as much as $2.23 billion.

In documents submitted to a state court in Manhattan, Attorney General Letitia James presented evidence from her civil case, demonstrating a pattern of “repeated and persistent fraudulent use” by Trump and his family business. This pattern extended from 2011 to 2021.

James argued that the inflation of values for over a dozen assets by hundreds of millions of dollars established the defendants’ liability for fraud under the state’s Executive Law. She stated, “The cumulative effect of these numerous deceptive schemes to inflate Mr. Trump’s assets, and consequently, his net worth, is staggering.” She also emphasized that this was merely the beginning, hinting at a broader spectrum of deception the state was prepared to unveil during the trial.

Within an hour of James’ filing, lawyers representing Trump and the other defendants submitted their own documents, aiming to put an end to what they termed James’ “crusade against President Trump” and have the entire case dismissed. They cited a recent appellate court decision, asserting that many of the transactions challenged by James had occurred too far in the past to be subject to court review. They also argued that the attorney general had not provided any evidence of harm resulting from the remaining transactions.

“The essence of her objective here,” the defendants’ lawyers contended, “is to assume the role of a retrospective arbiter of the marketplace, injecting her personal judgment into private, profit-driven transactions.” They further claimed that the available record evidence fundamentally undermined her purported claims.

250 million sought

Last September, James initiated her lawsuit, accusing Donald Trump of deceiving regarding property values, including those of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and the penthouse apartment in Trump Tower, Manhattan, as well as his personal net worth.

Her claim asserted that Trump engaged in this deception to illicitly secure more favorable terms for loans and insurance, inflicting harm on honest participants in the banking, insurance, and real estate sectors.

The Attorney General is pursuing a minimum of $250 million in damages from Trump, his adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and others. Additionally, she aims to prohibit the Trump family from conducting businesses within New York.

A trial, presided over by state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, is scheduled for October 2.

It’s important to note that this case is distinct from four criminal indictments against Trump, who is 77 years old and vying for a second term in the White House, including two related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential nomination, has consistently denied any wrongdoing in all these cases, characterizing them as part of a Democratic effort to discredit him. Notably, James is affiliated with the Democratic Party.

In her submission, James argued that rectifying Trump’s questionable property valuations would have decreased his net worth by 17% to 39% annually between 2011 and 2021.

The filing specified that Trump’s reported net worth reached its pinnacle at $6.1 billion in both 2018 and 2019, coinciding with his presidency, but it could not have exceeded $4.2 billion if he had obtained “comprehensive professional appraisals” for his properties.

James contended that Trump should have valued his penthouse triplex at $119.9 million in 2016, rather than $327 million, and that Mar-a-Lago, in 2018, should have been valued at $25.4 million based on its limited use as a social club, instead of the reported $739.5 million.

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