Donald Trump faces $370 million lawsuit from New York state in fraud case

The lawsuit accuses Donald Trump, along with his two oldest children, of artificially inflating property values ​​to obtain advantageous bank loans.

Former US President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks to the media during a break while attending trial in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James against him, his adult children, the Trump Organization and others in the New York City, October 4. 2023. – Reuters

New York Attorney General Letitia James has upped the ante in the legal battle against former President Donald Trump, pushing for a staggering $370 million in penalties in a fraud case.

The move comes ahead of looming final arguments in a civil case that aims to strip Trump of prime real estate assets in Manhattan.

The lawsuit accuses Trump, along with his two oldest children, of artificially inflating property values ​​to obtain advantageous bank loans and insurance terms. In response, Trump’s legal team criticized the attorney general’s office, arguing that the proposed penalty of excluding Trump from all business activities exceeds a mere financial loss and is an overreach of authority.

The trial, which lasted three months last year, highlighted Trump’s alleged exaggeration of his net worth through billions of dollars in financial statements submitted to banks. Judge Arthur Engoron has already found Trump liable for providing misleading financial information to obtain better loan terms.

The Attorney General’s office condemned Trump’s “countless deceptive schemes” as “outrageous,” insisting that these actions lacked an innocent explanation. James, who is seeking at least $370 million in sanctions and limitations on Trump’s business operations within the state, seeks to restrict Trump’s activities and hold him accountable for alleged fraudulent practices.

Trump, denying any wrongdoing, called the case a political vendetta and said there are no victims. His legal fights extend beyond this case, with charges in multiple jurisdictions. Despite these legal challenges, Trump remains a prominent figure in the Republican Party and a leading contender for the 2024 presidential nomination.

Amid fierce testimony, Trump’s adult children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka — maintained limited involvement in their father’s financial affairs during their tenures at the Trump Organization. Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street, among key assets in Trump’s New York portfolio, face uncertainty following a dissolution order, currently under appeal.

Beyond this case, Trump faces multiple indictments in every state for various alleged crimes, setting up a complex legal calendar that could disrupt the planned start of his criminal trials in New York in March.

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