A New York judge has ruled that Donald Trump and his adult sons are liable for fraud and has canceled the Trump Organization’s business certification, stating that the Trumps provided false financial statements for around a decade. The ruling comes just days before the civil case involving the New York attorney general’s office and the former president was set to go to trial. The judge granted the attorney general’s motion for summary judgment, finding Trump and his sons to be liable for persistent violations of state law. Judge Arthur Engoron found the financial statements the Trumps provided to lenders and insurers to be false and concluded that they repeatedly engaged in fraud. The attorney general seeks $250 million in damages, a ban on the Trumps from serving as officers of a business in New York, and a five-year halt to business transactions by the company.
The judge also canceled the business certifications of the Trump entities involved in the case and appointed a receiver to oversee the dissolution of the corporate entities. However, questions remain regarding the full extent of the ruling, including whether it would impact properties outside of New York state and if the Trumps could transfer assets to a new out-of-state company. The judge accused Trump of inflating the value of his properties and described the Trumps’ legal defense of fraudulent financial statements as a “fantasy world.” Trump condemned the ruling, calling it a politically motivated witch hunt, and his attorney stated that they would seek appellate remedies. Despite the ruling, the case will still proceed to trial for claims of insurance fraud and false business records, but the attorney general’s office won’t need to prove the falseness of the financial statements.
In response to the ruling, Attorney General Letitia James stated that the judge found the Trumps engaged in years of financial fraud and expressed her intent to present the rest of their case at trial. The judge’s decision is a significant blow to Trump and a complete rejection of his claims that he did not inflate the values of his properties on financial statements. The ruling, which includes canceling the business certification, appointing a receiver, and finding the Trumps liable, reinforces the attorney general’s allegations that Trump defrauded lenders, insurers, and other entities. The trial’s start date remains uncertain as Trump has filed a petition to implement an appeals court decision, which is expected to be resolved this week.