After years of probing, New York Attorney General Letitica James has sued former President Donald Trump for allegedly using fraudulent asset valuations.
According to a Wednesday suit filed in New York state court against Trump, the Trump Organization and three of Trump's children who serve as senior executives, the defendants "engaged in numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation in the preparation of Mr. Trump’s annual statements of financial condition," and committed acts of fraud that "were approved at the highest levels of the Trump Organization—including by Mr. Trump himself."
According to Bloomberg, James is seeking around $250 million in disgorgement from the defendants, and demands that the Trump Organization be barred from engaging in commercial real estate acquisitions in New York for a period of five years. She also asks that Trump and his children be barred from serving as officers or directors of any corporation in the state, and wants an independent monitor appointed to oversee compliance, financial reporting, and valuations at the Trump Organization.
James’s lawsuit is the latest legal threat to Trump as he weighs another run for the presidency in 2024. Trump has been under intense scrutiny ever since his Florida home was searched last month by FBI agents who unearthed highly classified documents taken from the White House. The Justice Department continues to probe his actions preceding the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as well. -Bloomberg
“The number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all of the real estate holdings in any given year,” the lawsuit added.
All told, James described the actions of Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, and the other Defendants, as "part of a repeated pattern and common scheme, derived more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets included in the 11 Statements covering 2011 through 2021.”
The New York case comes just before the Trump Organization is scheduled to face trial next month on charges of criminal tax fraud.
A lawyer for Trump, Alina Habba, disputed the attorney general’s lawsuit and described Wednesday’s legal action as politically motivated.
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law—rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” Habba told news outlets after the lawsuit was announced.
“It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place.”
Habba said Trump is confident that “this unchecked abuse of authority” will be shot down and “look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”
Trump, meanwhile, called it 'another witch hunt.'