Donald Trump and his company inflated the value of his assets by as much as $2.2 billion in a single year, according to a 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.
(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump and his company inflated the value of his assets by as much as $2.2 billion in a single year, according to a 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.
The evidence that Trump persistently inflated his net wealth from 2011 to 2021 to dupe banks and insurers into giving him better terms on financial transactions is so extensive that the state should immediately be granted “summary judgment” on its fraud claim against the former president, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday in a court filing.
The new evidence was released as part of the 2022 suit against Trump, in which James alleges the former president and his sprawling real estate company, the Trump Organization, falsified business records and issued false financial statements that inflated his assets. Even if the judge rules Trump is liable, he would still have to face a scheduled trial in Manhattan on Oct. 2 for other claims in the suit.
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.
Read More: These Are the Trump Assets at the Center of N.Y. Fraud Suit
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 respond to messages seeking comment on Wednesday.
The former president, his adult sons and the company filed their own request asking the judge to rule in their favor without a trial. They argued New York’s attorney general “has spent considerable time and taxpayer dollars chasing after President Trump” and viewing his successful business transactions through “manipulated standards.”
James “has sought to reach the elite and insular marketplace of complex and profitable transactions between billionaire developers and major international banks and insurers without any evidence that the purported fraud had any negative impact on anyone, public or private,” Trump’s lawyer said in the filing.
‘Iceberg of Deception’
The attorney general said she is “prepared to expose at trial” that the assets targeted in her case are “just the tip of a much larger iceberg of deception” by Trump to inflate his net worth for a decade, based on the state’s own valuation and accounting experts, according to the filing.
“Mr. Trump’s net worth in any year between 2011 and 2021 would be no more than $2.6 billion, rather than the stated net worth of up to $6.1 billion, and likely considerably less if his properties were actually valued in full blown professional appraisals,” James said in the filing.
The attorney general said all 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 in the business 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.”
(Updates with Trump court filing.)
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