On Tuesday a New York judge, Donald J. It ruled that Trump continued to commit fraud by inflating the value of his assets, and removed control over some of the former president’s signature New York properties.
Justice Arthur F. Engoron’s decision, Mr. It was a major victory for Attorney General Letitia James in her case against Trump, effectively ruling that no investigation was necessary to determine that he had obtained fraudulently favorable terms on loans and insurance contracts.
Mr. Ms. James argued that Trump had inflated the value of his assets by $2.2 billion and should be fined about $250 million in a trial scheduled to begin Monday.
“The fraudulent valuations used by the defendants in the business are clear,” Judge Engoron wrote in the case documents.
While the trial determined the quantum of punishment, Judge Ngoron’s ruling, Ms. James delivered one of the biggest punishments he’d ever asked for: Mr. Revoking the business certificates that allow some of Trump’s New York properties to operate is a move that could have far-reaching consequences. For the Trump family business.
This decision Mr. It would not liquidate Trump’s entire company, but it sought to end his control of a prime commercial property at 40 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan and a family estate in Westchester County. Mr. Trump also retains control of his other New York properties, including Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. Trump is likely to lose, although this could be fought over in the coming months.
Justice Nkoron’s decision summarizes the issues raised at the trial and determines that the thrust of Ms James’s case is valid. His lawyers urged the judge to throw out many of the claims against the former president. This is a huge blow to Trump.
In his order, Justice Engoron said Mr. He wrote scathingly about Trump’s defense, saying the former president and his two adult sons and other defendants, including his company, ignored reality when it suited their business needs. In “defendants’ world,” rent-regulated apartments are equivalent to unregulated apartments; Encumbered land is equivalent to unencumbered land; Restrictions will evaporate into thin air.”
“It’s a fantasy world, not the real world,” he added.
Mr. The judge also imposed sanctions on Trump’s lawyers. He ordered each to pay $7,500, having previously warned that the arguments in question were frivolous.
Reciting them was “indefensible,” Judge Engoran wrote.
Mr Trump still has the option to delay the trial, or close the case. Mr. Trump sued Judge Engoron, and an appeals court is expected to rule on his case this week. But if the appeals court rules against him, Mr Trump will have to fight the rest of the case.
Ms James began investigating Mr Trump in March 2019 and filed a lawsuit against him last September, alleging “shocking” fraud in representing the value of his apartment buildings, hotels and golf clubs and other properties. To boost the value of his signature properties, from Trump Tower to Mar-a-Lago, Mr.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers sought what Judge Engoron called summary judgment — a ruling that they were entitled to win before a trial based on undisputed facts — to throw out many of the claims against him. They relied heavily on an appeals court ruling from June, which ruled that Mr. It raised the idea that some of the claims against Trump may be too old to proceed with the investigation.
Justice Engoron Mr. Trump denied the request, interpreting the appeals court’s ruling as the opposite of what they argued, while Ms.
Mr. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and Ms. James, a Democrat, has faced political harassment. His lawyers noted that the banks that lent money to Mr Trump were not harmed: they turned a profit. They also argued that property valuation can be a subjective, art rather than a rigorous science.
But Mr. Judge Engoron, who Trump’s attorneys have attacked at every turn, scoffed at those arguments.
“The documents don’t say what they say; There is no such thing as ‘objective’ value,” the judge wrote, summarizing their arguments, adding that “basically, a court should not trust its own eyes.”
In a footnote, he added a quote from the movie “Duck Soup” in which Chico Marx said: “Well, who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”