Trump, company and family members sued by New York AG for alleged fraud


“I am announcing that today we are filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump for breaking the law in his efforts to generate profit for himself, his family, his business,” James said, then that she announced the action at a press conference. in Manhattan on Wednesday morning. “The complaint demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and deceive the system, thereby deceiving us all.”

“The scheme of fraud used by Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization was staggering,” James added.

Trump’s lawyers in the investigation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that James, a Democrat running for a second term in November, is on a political vendetta, noting that during her 2018 campaign for AG she repeatedly promised to take legal action against Trump and had said he should be “scared” if she was elected. During his campaign, James promised to target Trump for investigation and told voters his election would put pressure on him similar to that exerted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

On Wednesday, his legal team reiterated that claim.

“Today’s brief is neither fact-driven nor legal–rather, it is solely focused on advancing the attorney general’s policy agenda,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said. “It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by interfering in transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place. We are confident that our legal system will not tolerate this unchecked abuse of power, and we look forward to defending our client against each of the Attorney General’s baseless claims.

The non-criminal enforcement action caps a three-and-a-half-year investigation that state officials say began shortly after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump had regularly inflated the value of his company’s assets in order to obtain favorable tax treatment. and loan terms.

James accuses Trump and his children of creating more than 200 misleading appraisals of company finances and other forms of misrepresentation, including wrongfully inflating the square footage of his own apartment from 11,000 to 30,000 in the documents financial. As a result, Trump said the apartment was worth $327 million, an amount James said was significantly more than any apartment ever sold in New York.

James also alleged that Trump repeatedly counted cash controlled by Vornado Partnership Interests — in which Trump had a limited partnership but no access to funds — as if it were his own. Trump also inflated the value of “advance revenue” from golf club membership fees, she alleged.

“For example, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Westchester, the valuation for 2011 assumed that new members would pay an initiation fee of almost $200,000 for each of 67 unsold season tickets, although many new members that year did not pay any initiation fees,” the lawsuit alleges.

“The examples I’ve presented only scratch the surface of the misconduct we’ve uncovered,” James said. “The pattern of fraud and deception employed by Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization for their own financial gain is staggering.”

While the sweeping relief James seeks — subject to the approval of a state court judge — would cripple many of Trump’s businesses, James acknowledged during his press conference that Trump’s lawyers had recently proposed a settlement, which his office rejected. But she said her team would consider future proposals to resolve the case.

“Our door is open,” the attorney general said.

James’ action is the latest in a proliferation of legal threats against Trump and may not even be the former president’s most acute legal headache as a series of other investigations and lawsuits follow. closer to him and various personalities in his orbit.

The New York Attorney General’s new lawsuit came amid a week in which the former president’s lawyers were battling in federal court to block Justice Department efforts to investigate the discovery of records highly sensitive national security concerns in his Mar-a-Lago area. Federal prosecutors are also bringing in former Trump aides and allies to a grand jury to investigate his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and an Atlanta-area grand jury is reaching a critical stage in its own related investigation. in the elections.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is preparing to go to trial in a criminal fraud case against the Trump Organization next month and recently secured a guilty plea and settlement with the company’s former CFO Allen Weisselberg , to testify at trial. The former president has not been charged in the case, but James said his new lawsuit was based in part on evidence regarding Trump’s instructions to Weisselberg to inflate various financial statements.

Trump had fought efforts to compel his deposition in the attorney general’s case, but lost a series of legal challenges over the issue. When he finally appeared for questioning last month, he reportedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times.

“When your family, your business, and everyone in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated witch hunt backed by lawyers, prosecutors, and the fake media, you have no choice,” he said. Trump said in a statement. explaining why he took the Fifth despite numerous past comments he had made about such a gesture signaling his guilt.


Politico

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