Former President Donald Trump has strongly criticized a New York judge’s ruling that he committed fraud by submitting false valuations to secure loans and lied about his wealth for years. Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision came in response to a civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which alleges numerous acts of fraud by Trump and his company.
In his reaction, Trump took to Truth Social, a social media platform he co-founded, to express his dissatisfaction with the ruling. He described it as “a very sad day for the New York State System of Justice.” Trump also pointed out that violent crime rates, including murder, have surged in New York State, questioning the court’s priorities in focusing on his business dealings rather than addressing these pressing issues.
The ruling marks a significant development in the ongoing legal battles surrounding Trump’s financial practices. It comes just days before the start of a non-jury trial in Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against Trump. James sued Trump last year, alleging a pattern of fraud in which Trump overstated the value of his assets and net worth in various financial documents to secure favorable deals and financing.
Judge Engoron’s decision represents a major blow to Trump’s public image as a wealthy and successful real estate mogul. It concludes that Trump, his company, and key executives deliberately misrepresented their financial status on annual financial statements. This deception allowed them to obtain advantageous loan terms and reduced insurance premiums.
The ruling rejects Trump’s argument that a disclaimer on the financial statements absolved him of any wrongdoing, reinforcing that these tactics violated the law. While Manhattan prosecutors had considered pursuing a criminal case on the same conduct, they opted not to do so, leaving Attorney General Letitia James to pursue civil penalties that could impact Trump’s business operations in New York State.
Although this ruling addresses a crucial claim in James’ lawsuit, several other claims remain unresolved. Trump faces further legal challenges, with James seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on his business activities in New York. Judge Engoron is scheduled to hold a non-jury trial starting on October 2, during which he will decide on the remaining claims and potential penalties.
Trump’s legal team had sought to dismiss the case, arguing that there was no evidence of harm to the public resulting from Trump’s actions. They also raised concerns about the statute of limitations regarding many allegations in the lawsuit. However, Judge Engoron’s ruling indicates that these arguments did not hold sway in this phase of the legal proceedings.
Trump has consistently accused New York State Attorney General Letitia James and other prosecutors of bias against him. The ongoing legal battles and this latest ruling underscore the complex legal landscape that Trump continues to navigate as he remains a prominent figure in American politics.