NY AG Letitia James Demands Staggering $370M in Trump Civil Fraud Case

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The civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump has been a long and winding road. It began in September 2022, when New York Attorney Letitia James brought the lawsuit claiming that Trump’s family and he “enriched themselves by fraud.”

My colleague stated previously that “James accused former President, his family, and his organization of “persistent business fraud”.

The civil suit, filed on Wednesday at the State Supreme Court of Manhattan, is seeking a $250-million judgment as well as a ban on any Trump from leading a business in New York.

The suit alleges, among other things, that the former president’s Florida estate and resort, Mar-a-Lago was valued at $739 million but should have only been valued at one-tenth of that amount at $75 million. The suit claims that the higher valuation was “based upon the false assumption that it was an unrestricted piece of property that could be developed into residential use, even though Mr. Trump signed deeds restricting the changes that can be made to the property and donating his rights for residential development.”

According to a footnote of the lawsuit, James will refer her findings to federal prosecutors located in Manhattan who may open a criminal probe into bank fraud.

A newly filed brief from the AG is bringing us yet another surprise. James has requested that the judge overseeing this case increase the $250 million judgment amount against Trump to $35 million, because “the trial demonstrated that he gained that amount by unlawful conduct.”

The amount was much higher than the $250 million estimate that Letitia J., the Attorney General, made in fall 2022 when she accused Mr. Trump of inflating the value of his net worth to get favorable treatment from insurers and banks.

…. The attorney general requested a penalty in a brief filed Friday.

The NY AG wants to punish him with more than just a monetary fine.

Along with the harsh financial penalty, Ms. James is a Democrat who wants Mr. Trump to be banned from the New York real estate industry, and from managing any company within the state.

Trump’s attorneys have rejected the demands of James:

Christopher M. Kise – an attorney for Mr. Trump – called the amount “unconscionable” and said it was not backed up by evidence. He also described the sum as being “unrealistic, excessive, and unconstitutional.”

The Trump Organization has also released a press release

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization stated that “every member of New York’s business community, regardless of sector, should be gravely worried about this gross overreach, and the brazen attempt by Attorney General to exert unlimited power in areas where no harm has been proven.”

Remember that this is not a trial by jury, but rather a case before a judge named Arthur Engoron. In September 2023, nearly a year after NY AG filed a civil suit against Trump. Judge Engoron determined that Trump committed fraud to build his fortune…[and] he and his company defrauded insurance companies, banks, and other business partners by massively overstating his assets and net worth. Engoron found that Trump had done more than just puffery to obtain lower insurance and loan rates.

The judge’s “primary focus” is the amount of the punishment, as I have previously stated:

The ruling was made just a few days before the start of the trial and in response to Trump’s and James’s requests for summary judgment. When the bench trial begins, Judge Engoron’s focus will be on determining how much of James’ $250 million restitution demand Trump must pay.

Closing arguments will begin next week. The NY civil case should be concluded by the end of this month. We’ll keep updating you.