Trump and Sons Found Liable for Fraud in Landmark Ruling

In a groundbreaking legal decision, former President Donald Trump and his adult sons have been held liable for fraud by a New York judge, Arthur Engoron, who also revoked the Trump Organization’s business certification. This landmark ruling not only poses a substantial threat to Trump’s financial empire but also occurs amidst his potential bid for a second term in the White House.

The judge’s ruling unequivocally dismisses Trump’s claims that he did not inflate the values of his various properties, including golf courses, hotels, and homes at Mar-a-Lago and Seven Springs, in his financial statements. Engoron wrote, “In defendants’ world: rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies.” He bluntly declared, “That is a fantasy world, not the real world.”

This legal battle stems from a lawsuit initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, seeking $250 million in damages, a ban on the Trumps from holding officer positions in New York-based businesses, and a five-year prohibition on the Trump Organization from engaging in business transactions. The forthcoming trial will determine the exact amount of damages and the full implications of Judge Engoron’s decision.

One of the most significant consequences of the ruling is the cancellation of business certifications for Trump-related entities involved in the case, including the Trump Organization itself. This represents a substantial blow to the business, which has long been synonymous with the former president’s personal brand.

The judge has also appointed a receiver to oversee the dissolution of these corporate entities, which include the commercial tower at 40 Wall Street and the Trump family compound at Seven Springs, among others. Questions persist about how these properties will be dissolved, whether the ruling will impact assets outside of New York state, and whether the Trumps could potentially transfer New York-based assets to an out-of-state company.

In response to the ruling, Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, stated, “Today, a judge ruled in our favor and found that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in years of financial fraud. We look forward to presenting the rest of our case at trial.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, vehemently condemned the ruling, accusing Judge Engoron of “doing the bidding” of James. Trump called for intervention from the highest courts in New York State and the federal system, characterizing the legal proceedings as unfair and unrepresentative of America.

Christopher Kise, Trump’s attorney, criticized the ruling as “completely disconnected from the facts and governing law.” He emphasized that Trump and his family would vigorously pursue all available appellate remedies to rectify what they perceive as a miscarriage of justice.

The core of the case revolves around allegations that Trump intentionally inflated the value of his triplex apartment at Trump Tower, resulting in an overvaluation ranging from $114 million to $207 million. Judge Engoron unequivocally labeled such a discrepancy as fraud, especially when it involves a real estate developer evaluating his own living space.

Judge Engoron did not mince words in his critique of the Trumps’ legal defense, drawing a comparison to a comedic line from “Duck Soup,” where he asked, “Well, who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

The lawsuit further claims that Trump, his children, his companies, and business executives defrauded lenders, insurers, and other entities, leading to Trump financially benefiting from this misconduct. The judge rejected Trump’s argument that disclaimers in the financial statements absolved him of wrongdoing, stating that “the defendants’ reliance on these ‘worthless’ disclaimers is worthless.”

In conclusion, Judge Engoron’s groundbreaking ruling has profound implications for the Trump family and their extensive business empire. As the case moves forward to determine damages, the future of Trump’s financial endeavors and political ambitions remains uncertain, marking a critical turning point in the ongoing legal battles surrounding the former president and his business practices.

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