In a significant blow to former President Donald Trump, a judge in New York has ruled that he “repeatedly” misrepresented his wealth by hundreds of millions of dollars to banks and insurers. The ruling resolves a key claim made by New York’s attorney general in her civil lawsuit against Trump, his two adult sons, and the Trump Organization. The judge stated that the documents in the case clearly contain fraudulent valuations used by the defendants in their business. The decision comes just before the trial is set to begin next week.
The attorney general, Letitia James, filed the lawsuit against Trump last September, accusing him and his company of lying about his net worth and asset values between 2011 and 2021. James claimed that the defendants issued false business records and financial statements to obtain more favorable terms on bank loans and insurance deals, as well as to pay less in taxes. In the upcoming trial, James will seek $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York. The trial is expected to last until at least December.
Trump’s attorney called the judge’s decision a “miscarriage of justice” and dismissed the case as another political “witch hunt.” Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused the judge of being “highly politicized.” Despite the ruling, the judge did not dissolve Trump’s company but did order the cancelation of its New York business licenses. This could lead to Trump losing control over his signature properties in New York, such as the Trump Tower and the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.
The ruling further complicates Trump’s legal battles as he prepares for a potential rematch with President Joe Biden in the next election. He is currently facing 91 felony charges across four criminal cases, pleading not guilty in all of them. An appeals court is expected to rule this week on Trump’s lawsuit to delay the trial, and if it rules against him, he will have to proceed with the case in court.