State AG Letitia James alleged Trump inflated assets.
Trial set to start on October 2, impacting Trump’s defense strategy.
Judge’s decision considered a setback for Trump before the trial.
A New York judge found Donald Trump and his family business responsible for fraud in state Attorney General Letitia James’ civil complaint accusing the former US president of falsely inflating his assets and net worth.
Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan issued the decision.
In September 2022, James filed a lawsuit against Trump, alleging him and the Trump Organization of lying for a decade about asset prices and his net worth in order to obtain better terms on bank loans and insurance.
She claims Trump exaggerated his net worth by much to $2.23 billion, and by one calculation by up to $3.6 billion, on annual financial statements sent to banks and insurers. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and numerous office buildings and golf courses, according to the attorney general, were among the assets whose values were inflated.
Trump’s and the other defendants’ attorneys did not immediately reply to calls for comment.
A Trump representative did not reply quickly to a request for comment on the verdict.
Engoron asserted that James had shown culpability for misleading assessments of many properties, including Mar-a-Lago and the penthouse, and chastised Trump for using deposition defenses that were “wholly without basis in law or fact.”
“He claims that if the values of the property have gone up in the years since the (financial statements) were submitted, then the numbers were not inflated at that time,” wrote Engoron.
“He also seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated be-cause he could find a ‘buyer from Saudi Arabia’ to pay any price he suggests.”
A trial is set to begin on October 2 and might go until December. Judge Engoron’s decision is considered as a blow for the former president ahead of the trial, which is expected to begin on Monday.
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