Donald Trump and his company inflated the value of his assets by as much as $2.2 billion, according to a new court filing by New York’s attorney general urging a judge to find the former president liable for fraud before a trial set to start in October.
“Undisputed” evidence of inflated values from 2011 to 2021 was so strong that the state should be granted “summary judgment” in its 2022 suit, which alleges “persistent and repeated” fraud by Trump and his Trump Organization, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday in a state court filing in Manhattan.
If the judge rules Trump is liable, the trial would still go forward starting Oct. 2 on the state’s other claims, including falsifying business records and issuing false financial statements.
The trial isn’t related to the four criminal prosecutions Trump faces. While civil cases pose no risk of jail, a loss for Trump in the fraud suit could result in a $250 million payout to the state and a ban on Trump serving as a director of any New York-based company. His adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, are also defendants.
Trump, who is seeking to return to the White House in 2024 and is the Republican Party’s front-runner, denies wrongdoing and argues all of the lawsuits and prosecutions he faces are part of a coordinated “witch hunt” by Democrats to undermine his campaign.
Trump’s lawyers on the case didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
According to James’s filing, all that she needs to win summary judgment on her fraud claim is to show that Trump’s statements of financial condition were false and misleading for a decade, and that he used the statements “repeatedly or persistently” in business transactions.
“The answer to both questions is a resounding ‘yes’ based on the mountain of undisputed evidence,” James said in the filing.
James sought to bolster her request with Trump’s testimony from an April deposition in the case, when he was asked about his role in the company. The former president testified that he became less involved starting in 2015, when he first ran for president and his “role was gone.”
“I was virtually not involved at all,” Trump said, according to a transcript attached to James’s filing. “I rarely — I’d rarely have anything to do with anything having to do with the company. I wasn’t — I really wasn’t interested, believe it or not.”
Trump agreed that, as president, he was ultimately too busy for the company bearing his name, and that running the country was his top priority, including his talks with North Korea.
“I considered this the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives,” Trump said. “I think you would have nuclear holocaust, if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think you would have a nuclear war, if I weren’t elected. And I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth.”
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