NY AG: Judge Should Rule Trump Committed Fraud Now

Letitia James is seeking a partial summary judgment in the case
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2023 12:15 AM CDT
NY AG: Trump Inflated His Net Worth by Billions
Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

As he gears up for his criminal trials, former President Trump is set to first face a civil trial in New York on Oct. 2. But State Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday argued in a court filing that Trump's fraud is so staggering a trial isn't even necessary when it comes to her main claim. Her suit alleges Trump and his co-defendants (including three of his children) unlawfully inflated and deflated his net worth by billions on financial statements to secure loans, get insurance benefits, and pay lower taxes. On Wednesday, James put a number to her claim, alleging Trump fraudulently inflated his net worth by $812 million to $2.2 billion annually between 2011 and 2021, an increase of as much as 39%, per the AP and Politico.

"Based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the court to determine that defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values," her filing said. The New York Times explains James is seeking a partial summary judgment "on the claim at the core of her case—that Mr. Trump's financial statements were fraudulent—and if she prevails, it would mark a significant victory and could smooth her path to a potential win at trial on the remaining claims." In a filing of their own, Trump's lawyers also requested a summary judgment.

Their motion was based on a recent appellate court decision that has the potential to pare down the case's scope by, in their view, excluding loans Trump and his company secured prior to 2014. They also argued against fraud by asserting that because Trump's lenders only lightly considered his financial statements and made millions off the loans, they "profited considerably" and "have never complained," thus fraud "cannot exist." The Times again translates: "If Mr. Trump won even partial summary judgment, the case could become a shadow of what it once appeared." Judge Arthur F. Engoron has a hearing scheduled for Sept. 22 and could rule then. His options: Rule in favor of either side or deny both, forging ahead with the trial. (More President Trump stories.)

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