Donald Trump, former U.S. President and current Republican presidential candidate, addressed supporters at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa.
Meanwhile, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has taken a bold step, urging a state judge to pre-emptively declare Trump liable for fraud.
The accusation pertains to alleged false statements made to financial institutions and insurers, resulting in an alleged overstatement of his net worth by an astonishing $2.23 billion.
In her submissions to a Manhattan state court, James asserted that Trump and his family business consistently employed misleading financial statements from 2011 to 2021, indicating a pattern of fraudulent behavior.
She argued that the exaggerated valuations of numerous assets, increasing their worth by hundreds of millions of dollars, amount to fraud under the state’s Executive Law.
James emphasized that this alleged deception represents only a fraction of what will be unveiled during the trial.
Shortly after James’ filing, Trump’s legal representatives responded by seeking the dismissal of the case.
They criticized James’ approach as a “crusade against President Trump,” referencing a recent appellate court ruling that deems many of the challenged transactions as too old for court review.
They also noted the lack of evidence supporting claims of harm caused by the remaining actions.
James initially filed the lawsuit in September the previous year, accusing Trump of misrepresenting property values, including Mar-a-Lago and his Trump Tower penthouse.
Allegedly, these falsehoods were aimed at securing better loan and insurance terms, which in turn negatively impacted the integrity of financial and real estate markets.
In addition to seeking a minimum of $250 million from Trump, his sons, the Trump Organization, and others, the attorney general aims to halt the Trumps’ business operations in New York.
A trial before State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron is set for October 2.
This case stands apart from Trump’s four criminal indictments, which include attempts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.
Despite these legal challenges, Trump, a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, vehemently denies any wrongdoing, attributing the allegations to a Democratic witch hunt.
In her filing, James claimed that rectifying Trump’s dubious valuations would have reduced his net worth by 17% to 39% annually between 2011 and 2021.
Notably, Trump’s reported net worth peaked at $6.1 billion in 2018 and 2019, during his presidency.
However, had he obtained comprehensive professional appraisals for his properties, his net worth would have been a maximum of $4.2 billion.
James further contended that Trump should have valued his 2016 penthouse triplex at $119.9 million, not $327 million, and valued Mar-a-Lago at $25.4 million in 2018, based on its restricted use, rather than $739.5 million.