New York Judge Rules Trump Liable for Fraud in Civil Case

Former president faces potential loss of business licenses and hefty fines

A New York judge has ruled that former president Donald Trump is liable for fraud in a civil case brought by the state attorney general, who accused him of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to obtain favorable loans and insurance policies. The ruling, issued on Tuesday, is a major setback for Trump, who could lose his business licenses in New York and face up to $250 million in penalties.

The judge, Arthur Engoron, found that Trump had committed fraud as a matter of law based on the evidence presented by Attorney General Letitia James, who sued Trump and his company in 2019. The evidence included Trump’s own financial statements, which showed that he had exaggerated the value of his assets by as much as 2,800 percent in some cases.

The judge said that Trump’s conduct was “intentional and repeated” and that he had “misled or deceived” his lenders and insurers for years. He also rejected Trump’s argument that the case was politically motivated and that he had relied on the advice of professionals.

“Mr. Trump’s fraudulent actions were not isolated or sporadic,” the judge wrote. “They were pervasive and long-running. They affected several of his largest and most lucrative business ventures. And they were done with the knowledge and assistance of his closest aides and family members.”

New York Judge Rules Trump Liable for Fraud in Civil Case

Trump vows to appeal the decision and calls it a “witch hunt”

Trump, who is also facing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, denounced the ruling and said he would appeal it. He called the case a “witch hunt” and a “continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country.”

He also claimed that he had done nothing wrong and that his financial statements were accurate and verified by independent auditors. He accused James of being a “partisan hack” who was abusing her power to target him.

“No judge has ever ruled like this before on these standard financial papers,” Trump said in a statement. “It is outrageous, unfair, and an affront to justice.”

Trump’s lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed or at least go to trial, where they could challenge the evidence and present their own witnesses. They also said that the attorney general had failed to prove any actual harm or damages caused by Trump’s alleged fraud.

Attorney general seeks to revoke Trump’s business licenses and impose penalties

James, who is seeking to revoke Trump’s business certificates in New York, which are required to operate any business in the state, hailed the ruling as a “major victory” for the rule of law. She said that Trump had used his false statements to boost his image and influence, while harming investors, taxpayers, and consumers.

“For more than a decade, the Trump Organization has repeatedly and persistently broken the law, helping Donald Trump profit off of his namesake company while intentionally deceiving regulators, lenders, business partners, and even his own company,” James said in a statement. “No one is above the law, not even an organization or an individual with the name Trump.”

James is also seeking to impose civil penalties on Trump and his company for their fraud. She has asked the court to order them to pay $178 million in restitution to the victims of their fraud, plus another $72 million in disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains. She has also requested that the court ban Trump from serving as an officer or director of any public company for 10 years.

Experts say ruling is a ‘devastating’ blow for Trump’s business empire

Legal experts said that the ruling was a ‘devastating’ blow for Trump’s business empire, which has already suffered from the fallout of his presidency, the coronavirus pandemic, and his divisive rhetoric. They said that losing his business licenses in New York would severely limit his ability to operate his properties and generate income in one of his most important markets.

“They are basically shutting down his ability to do business in New York,” said Andrew P. Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge and friend of Trump’s. “He can’t buy anything, he can’t sell anything, he can’t borrow money. He can’t do anything without these certificates.”

Napolitano added that Trump would have to sell some of his assets or find new partners to pay off his debts and legal fees, which could hurt his ego more than his pockets.

“He is really f–ked,” said a source familiar with Trump’s situation. “This really hurts. He cares about the money. This is the beginning of the end for him.”

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