The state of New York has sued former President Donald Trump and three of his children for civil fraud. The suit alleges “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations” and seeks a $250 million and a ban on Trump and his family from running a business in the state.
Attorney General Letitia James made the announcement during a press conference Wednesday morning, noting that the Trump Organization has made “over 200” false valuations of assets over a period of 10 years, and that the is making referrals to the IRS criminal division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for possible federal crimes.
James spent minutes reeling off examples of the Trump Organization’s alleged fraud, including that Mar-a-Lago was overvalued by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The case docket lists the defendants as Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, longtime Trump Organization executive Jeffrey McConney, The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, The Trump Organization, Inc., and other businesses.
“The bullshit Dem witch-hunt continues!” Trump Jr. tweeted on Wednesday.
James has long been investigating potential fraud within the Trump Organization, the company behind former President Trump and his family’s business ventures. Allegations against the Trump Organization include claims that the company inflated property values to entice investors and insurers, while at the same time deflating them in tax filings.
James has indicated she believes Trump is personally involved in the fraudulent scheme. In a statement tied to a January court filing, James indicated her office had “uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.”
Last week, James’ office rejected a settlement bid from the Trump Organization, which has repeatedly sought to stall the investigation and prevent it from reaching litigation. Judge Arthur Engoron in April found Trump to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena to hand over documents requested by investigators. Trump was saddled with a $10,000 a day fine until the terms of the subpoena had been fulfilled, the total fine amounting to more than $100,000.
Trump and his children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., have been implicated in the investigation and Trump has repeatedly, publicly leveled attacks at James and her office. The former president has called the attorney general a “sick person” and a “racist,” for investigating him, among other insults. Trump’s lawyer for the case, Alina Habba, recently a lawsuit from a former employee that in part alleged Habba had referred to James as a “the black bitch.”
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law,” Habba said in a statement on Wednesday. “Rather, it is solely focused on advancing the attorney general’s political agenda.”
The lawsuit is only the latest of Trump’s myriad legal troubles. The Manhattan DA’s office is probing whether the Trump Organization committed financial fraud in their real estate dealings. The Justice Department is also investigating into potentially unlawful retention of classified documents by Trump after leaving the White House. The DOJ is also exploring potential connections between Trump and efforts to overturn the 2020 election in various states. The Fulton County, Georgia DA’s office is separately investigating election tampering after Trump last year asked the state’s top election official to “find” the votes necessary to overturn President Biden’s win in the state.
“White collar financial crime is not a victimless crime,” James said on Wednesday of the Trump Organization’s alleged fraud. “When the well-connected break the law to take in more money than they are entitled to it reduces resources to working people, to regular people, to small businesses and all taxpayers. Everyday people cannot lie to a bank about how much money they have in order to get a favorable loan to buy a home, or to send their kid to college, and if they did the government would throw the book at them, why should this be any different? It is a tale of two justice systems, one for everyday working people, and one for the elite, the rich and the powerful.”