Former US president Donald Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, have been found liable for illegally inflating his net worth by a New York State civil court, according to Justice Arthur Engoron. The trial is set to begin next week and is expected to last for at least two months.
The case was filed by State Attorney General Letitia James in September, alleging that Trump and his organization had lied for a decade about his net worth. The prosecution argues that Trump inflated his assets by $2.23 to $3.6 billion in order to obtain favorable terms on loans, insurance, and other financial resources.
Among the assets that Trump allegedly inflated in value are his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his Trump Tower penthouse, multiple golf courses, and office buildings. Justice Engoron supported the attorney general’s claim that the value of these properties had been exaggerated and dismissed Trump’s defense as “wholly without basis in law or fact.”
In addition to the civil suit, Trump is also facing numerous criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot, the alleged payment of hush money to a porn star years ago, and the alleged hoarding of top-secret government documents after leaving the White House. Trump has dismissed these cases as a political witch hunt and has used the federal indictments to raise funds for his potential 2024 presidential campaign.
Letitia James is seeking $250 million in her lawsuit and is accusing the entire Trump family of “staggering fraud.” She is also seeking to prohibit the Trumps and their company from conducting any business in New York. The defendants in the suit include Trump’s adult children and two Trump Organization executives, Allan Weisselberg and Jeff McConney.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case, arguing that his optimistic valuations of his assets did not harm any banks and that they actually profited from the loans. He contends that the banks made hundreds of millions of dollars in interest and fees and had never raised any concerns about the loans in question.
This latest legal challenge adds to the growing legal troubles faced by Trump since leaving office. His defense against these charges will be tested in court in the coming months, and the outcome of these cases will have significant implications for his future political ambitions.