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The New York Attorney General’s office has filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, several of his family members, as well associates and businesses, alleging “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” regarding financial statements.
Attorney General Letitia James said at a news conference Wednesday morning after the complaint was filed in New York Supreme Court that Trump “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars,” and that his children Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric helped him.
“Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company,” James said, “to pay lower taxes, to satisfy continuing loan agreements and to induce insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums.”
James said that over the course of her office’s investigation, they interviewed 65 witnesses and reviewed millions of documents. She said the evidence showed that Trump submitted “more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations.”
The misrepresentations included stating that Trump had cash on hand that he did not have, and ignoring restrictions that would impact property values, James said.
“Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal, It’s the art of the steal,” James said, referencing the title of Trump’s 1987 book.
The attorney general said she believes the allegations also support state and federal criminal laws, and that her office is making a referral to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the IRS. The SDNY U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the matter.
James said the investigation only began after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump made misrepresentations in statements to financial institutions.
Trump attorney Alina Habba pushed back against the allegations against the former president.
“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,” 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. We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”
James said that through the lawsuit, her office is requesting that the New York Supreme Court permanently bar Trump and his children from serving as officers for any New York corporation, and bar Trump and the Trump Organization from participating in New York commercial real estate acquisitions or applying for loans in the state for five years.
James said that as far as a possible settlement of the case is concerned, her office’s doors are open.