Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty of committing fraud by repeatedly misrepresenting his wealth, according to a ruling by a New York judge. The ruling, which is part of a civil case brought against Trump and his family business, accused him of defrauding banks and insurers for years. This is a significant blow to Trump, as it will likely hinder his ability to conduct business in the state of New York. The defendants, including Trump and his two adult sons, have denied any wrongdoing.
The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, alleged that Trump and his organization inflated the value of their properties by over $2 billion in order to benefit their business. She claimed that false records and financial statements were issued to secure better loan terms, insurance deals, and reduced tax payments. The judge ruled in favor of James, stating that Trump overvalued Mar-a-Lago by 2,300% and claimed his penthouse at Trump Tower in New York was three times larger than its actual size. The ruling resolves the main claim of fraud in the lawsuit, with the trial now set to focus on six remaining claims and the potential penalties involved.
The trial, scheduled to begin on October 2nd, has the potential to last until at least December. James is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump conducting business in his home state. Judge Arthur Engoron, who issued the scathing ruling, stated that the documents in question clearly contained fraudulent valuations. Additionally, he ordered the cancellation of business certificates that allow some of Trump’s businesses to operate in New York, potentially impacting his control over signature properties such as Trump Tower and the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street. Trump’s legal team has expressed their intention to appeal the ruling, while he himself continues to deny any wrongdoing.
In addition to this case, Trump is currently facing other legal battles as he campaigns for a potential election rematch with President Joe Biden. He is facing 91 felony charges across four criminal cases, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The ongoing legal challenges pose obstacles to his political aspirations and potential return to the White House. Trump’s legal team is also seeking to delay the trial in New York and has filed a lawsuit against the judge overseeing the case. An appeals court is expected to rule on that lawsuit soon, determining whether Trump will proceed with the rest of the case in court.