After a three-year investigation, New York Democratic Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
“This complaint shows that Donald Trump has fraudulently inflated his net worth by billions of dollars, unfairly enriched himself and cheated the system,” James said at a press conference. .
In a statement posted on the Truth social media site, Trump denounced the lawsuit as “another witch hunt” that he said was motivated by James’ bid for re-election.
“She is a scammer who campaigned on the ‘Get Trump’ platform,” Trump wrote.
The lawsuit also targets members of Trump’s longtime management team, including members of the family of Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump.
In response to the lawsuit, Donald Trump Jr. used swearing on Twitter next to James’ video: “Bullshit Democrat witch hunt continues!”
Eric Trump also posted on the Truth social media site accusing James of partisan attacks.
At a press conference, James admitted she would face criticism that her case was partisan. It started after I testified,” he said.
According to James, Trump’s operations “repeatedly and consistently manipulated the value of assets” to win favorable loan terms from banks and reduce tax payments.
“All of this action violated New York State law,” James said.
Lawsuit Bans Trump from Doing Business in NY
James is seeking a fine of around $250 million and a permanent ban on Trump, his children and members of the management team from doing business in New York state.
The lawsuit also seeks to bar the former president and his organization from purchasing commercial real estate in New York for five years.
The lawsuit has been filed in civil court, but James also argued that Trump’s manipulation violated state and federal criminal law. She said a criminal inquiry has been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a post on Twitter, James wrote, “Basically, he lied to get a huge financial gain for himself.
At a press conference, James said Trump repeatedly exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying when testifying under oath during the investigation.
She also said before Wednesday’s announcement that her office had rejected a settlement offer from Trump and his organization.
How Trump’s alleged scheme worked
James has said he has “severely” inflated the market value of real estate Trump owns in New York and Florida, including “showing he has cash on hand that Mr. Trump doesn’t have.” It detailed Trump’s business practices, which she claims are fraudulent. .
The lawsuit cites, as an example, Trump’s estate at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.
Trump’s team is said to have repeatedly received property value estimates between $200 million and $220 million from professional appraisers.
Then, according to the lawsuit, the Trump organization inflated the value of its assets to more than $500 million in statements to unfairly profit from lenders and insurance companies doing business with Trump’s firm.
According to James, the act was clearly fraudulent and not done in error.
“The exaggerated property values in the statement cannot be dismissed or excused as the result of mere exaggeration,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, they are the result of defendants’ exploitation of objectively false assumptions and blatantly inappropriate methodologies.”
Posting on Truth Social, Trump said James was “fighting for very powerful and well-represented banks and insurance companies. They got paid in full, made a lot of money and complained about me.” It never happened…” he complained.
Trump also described James, who is black, as “racist” and called her “peek-a-boo” James.
The lawsuit also targets Allen Weisselberg, who served as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Weisselberg’s attorney, Mary Mulligan, declined NPR’s request for comment.
The lawsuit announced Wednesday is just the latest in a long list of legal and financial challenges facing Trump, his organization, and his family.
Another criminal trial against Trump’s firm and Weisselberg is set to begin next month, filed by the Manhattan District Attorney.
As part of that proceeding, Weisselberg has pleaded guilty to numerous felonies and is expected to testify.