Donald Trump prepares to testify during his trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York on 6 November 2023.
The civil case against Trump threatens to strip the former president of prized real estate assets.New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking at least $250 million in penalties and sharp restrictions on Trump’s ability to do business in the state.Trump is also under indictment in Washington and Georgia for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.Donald Trump should be permanently barred from New York’s real estate industry for “outrageous” fraud, the state attorney general said in a court filing ahead of closing arguments in a civil case against the former US president.
The filing by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday said Trump’s “myriad deceptive schemes” to “inflate asset values and conceal facts were so outrageous that they belie innocent explanation.”
Trump’s lawyers countered in an opposing filing that the state failed to show any “real-world impact” from Trump’s financial statements to banks, which according to a judge overstated his net worth by billions of dollars.
They said in their filing that the attorney general’s office is overstepping its authority by trying to bar Trump from “any and all” business activity, a penalty “far more substantial than the mere loss of money.”
The final briefs for both sides will be followed by closing arguments on Thursday and the judge presiding over the case, Justice Arthur Engoron, will hand down a verdict at a later date.
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The case threatens to strip Trump of prized real estate assets, and Engoron has already found the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination liable for fraudulently overstating his wealth by billions of dollars to secure better loan terms.
The three-month trial last year largely concerned damages. James, an elected Democrat, is seeking at least $250 million in penalties and sharp restrictions on Trump’s ability to do business in the state.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the case a political witch hunt.
The case is part of a maelstrom of legal troubles Trump faces as he campaigns to square off against President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election, though none have yet diminished his commanding lead over Republican rivals.
During defiant and meandering testimony in October, Trump boasted about his business acumen and railed against what he said was political bias against him by James and Engoron.
Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump also testified. They said they had little to no involvement with their father’s financial statements while running the Trump Organization, an umbrella company for his wide-ranging business ventures.
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Unlike her brothers, Ivanka Trump is not a defendant.
Lawyers for Donald Jr. and Eric Trump said in their own filing Friday that there was no evidence that either had “anything more than a peripheral knowledge or involvement in” the preparation of their father’s financial statements.
The future of Trump’s empire hangs in the balance after Engoron in September ordered the dissolution of companies controlling crown jewels of his New York portfolio, including Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.
That order is on hold while Trump appeals, and some legal experts say Engoron may lack the authority to issue such a sweeping order.
Trump is under indictment in Washington and Georgia for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, in Florida for his handling of classified documents upon leaving office, and in New York over hush money payments to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.
Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing in all the cases.
The first of his criminal trials is set to begin in New York in March, but that is subject to change as Trump’s crowded legal calendar complicates court schedules.