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New York attorney general files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children and his business

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his children Eric (L) Ivanka and Donald Jr. arrive for a news conference at Trump Tower in New York on January 11, 2017.

New York attorney general indicts ex-president Donald Trump On Wednesday, he and his company charged with commercial fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The lawsuit brought by Attorney General Letitia James in New York state court is the culmination of a three-year civil investigation by Democrats into Trump and the Trump Organization.

Trump’s three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, as well as two longtime company executives, Alan Wesselberg and Jeffrey McConney, are also named as defendants.

New York attorney general indicts former President Donald Trump and his company on Wednesday (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

The lawsuit seeks to strike at the heart of Trump’s fame, discrediting the image of wealth and opulence he has championed throughout his career — first as a real estate developer and then as a reality TV host. apprentice and celebrity apprenticeand later became president.

James announced the details of the lawsuit at a news conference on Wednesday. The case appeared on the court docket on Wednesday morning.

“Donald Trump falsely inflates his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself, to defraud the system, and thereby defraud us all,” James said in a news conference.

In the more than 200-page lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, alleges that the fraud involved every aspect of Trump’s business, including his properties and golf courses. According to the lawsuit, the Trump Organization defrauded lenders, insurance companies and tax authorities by inflating the value of its properties through misleading assessments.

Donald Trump, right, with his children, from left, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, on July 23, 2014 Sitting with Ivanka Trump.   New York attorney general files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children and his business https 3A 2F 2Fprod
Trump’s three eldest sons, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, are also named as defendants (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“These acts of fraud and misrepresentation are similar in nature and are part of a concerted effort by senior Trump Organization executives for each annual statement and approved at the highest levels of the Trump Organization — including Mr. Trump himself,” the lawsuit said.

James said she believes there may be a violation of state and criminal law and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the IRS.

James is seeking $250 million ($375 million) in allegedly illegally obtained funds and permanently bar Trump and the child named in the lawsuit from serving as directors of a business registered in New York state. She also sought to cancel the Trump Organization’s corporate certificate, which, if approved by a judge, could effectively force the company to cease operations in New York state.

Alina Haba, Trump’s attorney, said: “Today’s document focuses neither on the facts nor on the law — it focuses only on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda.”

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks at the New York State Democratic Convention on February 17, 2022 in New York.  New York attorney general files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children and his business https 3A 2F 2Fprod
The announcement is the latest in a three-year investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances led by James (pictured) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“It is very clear that the Attorney General’s Office has gone beyond its statutory authority to snoop on transactions in which absolutely no wrongdoing has occurred.

“We are confident that our justice system will not tolerate this unfettered abuse of power, and we look forward to defending our clients against every baseless charge of the Attorney General.”

Republican Trump, who has called Democrat James a “traitor prosecutor,” said he was on a “vindictive and selfish fishing expedition.”

The Trump Organization called her previous allegations “baseless” and denied any wrongdoing.

The civil lawsuit comes as Trump faces mounting legal pressure as prosecutors move closer to his inner circle.

Trump is facing multiple criminal investigations by federal and state prosecutors over the accuracy of his company’s financial statements, interference in the 2020 presidential election and his handling of classified documents after he leaves office. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

The announcement is the latest in a three-year investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances led by James.

In January, James’ office said it found “material” evidence that the Trump Organization used false or misleading asset valuations in its financial statements to obtain loans, insurance and tax benefits. The following month, Trump’s longtime accounting firm resigned.

James launched her investigation in 2019 after Trump’s former mediator and personal attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress that Trump inflated the value of some assets for loans and insurance and undervalued others for tax benefits .

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks during the   New York attorney general files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children and his business https 3A 2F 2Fprod
The announcement is the latest in a three-year investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances led by James (Associated Press)

In addition to the new fraud lawsuit, the Trump Organization will go on trial next month alleging its involvement in a 15-year tax fraud scheme, and its longtime CFO has agreed to testify against the company .

Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer for decades, admitted in August to his role in a 15-year tax fraud scheme, and as part of the deal Trump’s real estate firm testified. in trial.

In recent weeks, the Trump Organization has offered a settlement to block the lawsuit, although the Trump Organization has denied any wrongdoing, but James’ office has made it clear it is not interested in a deal, people familiar with the matter said.

Family deposed by AG office

In April, following a protracted legal battle to enforce subpoenas for testimony from Trump and his adult children, attorneys in James’ office said their investigation was nearing completion and that testimony from the Trumps was needed to make a decision.

Last month, Trump did not answer questions and advocated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was removed from office by the attorney general’s office. Eric Trump, who runs the company every day, also invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in 2020, answering more than 500 questions.

With Trump and Eric Trump refusing to answer questions, the jury could draw “adverse inferences” about their failure to answer questions if the case goes to trial. If they are found responsible, this could lead to a higher judgment on them or the company.

Both Ivanka Trump and Trump Jr. answered questions during the more than seven-hour interview, sources told CNN.

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