Friday, a New York judge ruled that former U.S. President Donald Trump must face a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general, who accuses him of fraudulently overestimating the assets of his namesake real estate company and his own net worth.
Trump, his adult children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, as well as the Trump Organization, were sued by Attorney General Letitia James in September 2017 over an alleged scheme to inflate Trump’s assets by billions of dollars through a decade of lies to banks and insurers, in what she termed a “staggering” fraud.
Justice Arthur Engoron of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected the defense’s claims that James waited too long to file suit, failed to establish fraud, and should have provided better justification for the $250 million in damages she is seeking.
He added that Ivanka Trump could be held liable for “continuing wrongs.” despite her claims that she had not falsified valuations and had not worked for the Trump Organization since 2017.
In addition, the judge decided not to sanction the defendants for their arguments, which included that James was conducting a political “witch hunt” and lacked the legal authority to file suit.
“Sophisticated defense counsel should have known better,” wrote Engoron.
The attorneys for the defendants did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
James stated in a statement that Trump must defend himself in court because he “engaged in years of extensive financial fraud to enrich himself and cheat the system,”
In addition, she wants to prevent the Trumps from operating businesses in New York and prohibit Trump and his company from purchasing real estate there for five years. The trial is scheduled for October 2.
Trump, who is seeking re-election as president in 2024, faces a number of legal issues, including this one.
They include criminal investigations concerning the FBI’s seizure of government documents from his Florida home and his role in efforts to overturn or interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is also conducting a criminal investigation related to James’ civil case, and the Trump Organization, which was convicted of tax fraud in another New York case, faces sentencing on January 13.