New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday announced she is suing former President Donald Trump and three of his children for fraud stemming from her long-running civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business dealings.
James stated, “I’m announcing today that we’re suing Donald Trump for breaking the law in an effort to make money for himself, his family, and his business. The complaint shows that Donald Trump lied about increasing his net worth by billions of dollars in order to take advantage of the system and enrich himself unfairly, therefore taking advantage of all of us.”
At least $250 million in damages are demanded in the civil complaint.
James claimed that during the course of the investigation, her staff spoke with 65 witnesses and combed through millions of documents. Trump’s three oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, as well as former Trump Foundation executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney, are among the additional defendants in the complaint along with him.
James stated during the Wednesday morning remarks that “Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization repeatedly but also persistently manipulated this same value of assets to encourage banks to lend funds to the Trump Organization on the more favorable terms than would have otherwise been available to a country, to pay lower taxes, to fulfill continuing loan agreements, and to induce insurance companies can provide insurance at higher speed limits and at lower premiums.”
In an article published in the New York Times in October 2018, it was revealed that Trump has taken part in a number of tax strategies using his father’s real estate firm. James said that the inquiry got underway in 2019 when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, grilled former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on these business practices during testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
James alleged a number of things about Trump, including that he had exaggerated the size and worth of his own triplex unit in Trump Tower. She said that his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Florida were valued as much as $739 million when they should have been close to $75 million in certain papers. James further asserted that Trump exaggerated the worth of other properties and unused golf club memberships. Although James said they discovered more than 200 instances on his papers over the years, the legal lawsuit only included examples from 23 assets.
The Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service are receiving a criminal referral, according to the New York attorney general.
According to James, they are also requesting that the court permanently prohibit Trump or the three Trump kids from holding executive or director positions with any corporations that are registered or licensed in the state of New York, as well as a five-year ban on Trump and his organization’s ability to purchase commercial real estate there and a similar ban on their ability to apply for loans from New York-based banks.
Trump went to a deposition with James’ office in Manhattan last month, but he used his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to avoid answering any questions. In a statement, Trump criticized James for what he termed a “despicable attempt” to undermine his business and said he “declined to answer any questions under rights and privileges provided to every citizen there under United States Constitution.”
Trump’s son Eric used the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times in a deposition in October 2020, according to James, who testified to the court in January. Donald Jr. and Ivanka, the other children of the former president, allegedly testified in James’ investigation in early August without using the Fifth Amendment.
The FBI raid on the former president’s Florida residence last month was the result of a federal investigation of his improper handling of secret materials. Trump is still being probed by the Justice Department or a House committee for his involvement in the violence on January 6, 2021, which is another area of focus. Additionally, a district attorney in Georgia is looking into his attempts to rescind Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.