A New York judge sided with prosecutor Letitia James (D) on Tuesday, ruling that former President Donald Trump is liable for “persistent fraud.”
Last year, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron found that the defendants, including Trump, his two sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and members of the Trump organization “had a propensity to engage in persistent fraud by submitting false and misleading statements of financial condition on behalf of defendant Donald J. Trump.”
“Defendants followed the same procedure each year to create false and misleading SFCs,” a memo from NY Attorney General Letitia James in support of the plaintiffs’ motion stated in late August. “The SFCs include amounts for Mr. Trump’s assets, mostly real estate holdings, that are represented to be stated ‘at their estimated current values,’ a term defined in the applicable accounting rules as the value that a willing buyer and willing seller could agree on, where both are fully informed and neither is acting under duress. The associated liabilities are then subtracted from the ‘estimated current values’ to derive Mr. Trump’s net worth.”
Engoron wrote in his ruling issued on Tuesday, “Defendants repeat the erroneous argument that the complaint must be dismissed because OAG cannot demonstrate the requirements of a parens patriae action, which is one in the public interest,” then explained that a parens patriae action “permits the state to commence an action to protect a public interest, like the safety, health or welfare of its citizens.”
Trump responded in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.
“The widespread attack against me, my family, and my supporters has devolved to new, un-American depths, at the hands of a DERANGED New York State Judge, doing the bidding of a completely biased and corrupt ‘Prosecutor,’ Letitia James,” Trump wrote. “This is Democrat Political Lawfare, and a Witch Hunt at a level never seen before. It is an attempt to badly injure the opposing Party’s Leading, by far, Political Candidate.”
He added, “Nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before. My Civil Rights have been violated, and some Appellate Court, whether Federal or State, must reverse this horrible, un-American decision. If they can do this to me, they can do this to YOU!”
Former Trump attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen said the ruling effectively put Trump out of business in the Empire State.
“The damages, in my estimation, with interest and penalty, will exceed $600 million,” Cohen said in a CNN interview Tuesday. “Will that put him into bankruptcy? He does not have the liquid cash in order to pay that off.”
Cohen said that damages trial is likely to be the end of Trump’s businesses, as losing business licenses means that the operations have to shut down.
“As a result of the receivership, those companies will end up being liquidated, especially now that this case is no longer solely about … liability. The judge has already determined that the fraud existed,” Cohen said.