New York attorney general files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children and his business
(CNN)New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit Wednesday against former President Donald Trump, according to court records.The case docket indicates the defendants are Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Jeffrey Mcconney, The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, The Trump Organization, Inc., and other businesses associated with Trump.
Expect more details later.
UPDATE 6: NYTimes
The 220-page lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, lays out in new and startling detail how, according to Ms. James, Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements were a compendium of lies. The statements, yearly records that include the company’s estimated value of his holdings and debts, wildly inflated the worth of nearly every one of his marquee properties — from Mar-a-Lago in Florida to Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, according to the lawsuit.
UPDATE 7: CNN
James is seeking $250 million in allegedly ill-gotten funds and to permanently bar Trump and the children named in the lawsuit from serving as the director of a business registered in New York state. She is also seeking to cancel the Trump Organization’s corporate certificate, which, if granted by a judge, could effectively force the company to cease operations in New York state.
UPDATE 8: Tiger Beat email thingie:
SIREN — New York AG TISH JAMES announced today that she is filing a civil lawsuit against DONALD TRUMP and his eldest three children, DONALD JR., IVANKA and ERIC, alleging that the Trump Organization engaged in a sprawling campaign of fraudulent business practices, Josh Gerstein, Erin Durkin and Kyle Cheney report.
- “The attorney general’s civil suit alleges decades of deception, including billions of dollars in falsified net worth, as part of an effort to minimize his companies’ tax bills while winning favorable terms from banks and insurance companies,” the trio writes. James: Trump “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us.”
- James’ suit “relies on a special statute for repeat instances of alleged violations of the law, stemming from real estate transactions.” James: “This conduct cannot be brushed aside and dismissed as some sort of good-faith mistake.”
- An example, via Erin: Trump allegedly falsely claimed his own triplex apartment in Trump Tower was worth $327 million — three times its actual value. “To this date, no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount,” James said. Trump claimed the apartment was 30,000 square feet when it was actually 11,000.
- The soundbite: “Claiming you have money you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal,” James said toward the end of her remarks. “There cannot be different rules for different people in this country or in this state. Former presidents are no different.”
What the AG is seeking:
- About $250 million in allegedly illegal profits netted from the scheme.
- A five-year ban on Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric from participating in any real estate transactions — “a restriction that would spell the end of the Trump real estate empire,” write Josh, Erin and Kyle.
- A permanent ban on Trump and his three eldest children from serving as directors or officers of any corporation or business licensed in New York state.
James also said she is filing a criminal referral to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and a separate tax fraud referral to the IRS for the same underlying allegations.
The response from Trump world:
— “Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” Trump attorney ALINA HABBA said in a statement. “It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place.”
— Don Jr. was quick to tweet, lashing out at James for a “Dem witch-hunt.”
— Similarly, his brother Ericaccused James of “working for the DNC.”