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NY Civil Lawsuit & Criminal Trial Against Donald Trump & Family

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  • NY Civil Lawsuit & Criminal Trial Against Donald Trump & Family

    NY attorney general sues Donald Trump and his company
    NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s attorney general sued former President Donald Trump and his company Wednesday, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

    Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, is the culmination of the Democrat’s three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization. Three of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.

    The lawsuit seeks to strike at the core of what made Trump famous, taking a blacklight to the image of wealth and opulence he’s embraced throughout his career — first as a real estate developer, then as a reality TV host on “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” and later as president.

    James, a Democrat, announced details of the lawsuit at a news conference on Wednesday. The case showed up on a court docket Wednesday morning.

    James said Trump “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars.”

    The goal, the attorney general’s office has said, was to burnish Trump’s billionaire image and the value of his properties when doing so gave him an advantage, while playing down the value of assets at other times for tax purposes.

    “This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth, to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York,” James said at the news conference. “Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal.”

    James is seeking to remove the Trumps from businesses engaged in the alleged fraud and wants an independent monitor appointed for no less than five years to oversee the Trump Organization’s compliance, financial reporting, valuations and disclosures to lenders, insurers and tax authorities.

    She is seeking to replace the current trustees of Trump’s revocable trust, which controls his business interests, with independent trustees, to bar Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into commercial real estate acquisitions for five years, from obtaining loans from banks in New York for five years and permanently bar Trump and three of his adult children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York State.


    She also seeks to permanently bar Weisselberg and McConney from serving in the financial control function of any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York State.

    James said her investigation uncovered potential criminal violations, including falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, insurance fraud, conspiracy and bank fraud. She said her office is referring those findings to federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service.

    Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the lawsuit “is neither focused on the facts nor the law — rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda.”

    “It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place,” Habba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”

    James’ lawsuit comes amid a swirl of unprecedented legal challenges for a former president, including an FBI investigation into Trump’s handling of classified records and inquiries into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

    The Trump Organization is set to go on trial in October in a criminal case alleging that it schemed to give untaxed perks to senior executives, including its longtime finance chief Weisselberg, who alone took more than $1.7 million in extras.

    Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty Aug. 18. His plea agreement requires him to testify at the company’s trial before he starts a five-month jail sentence. If convicted, the Trump Organization could face a fine of double the amount of unpaid taxes.

    Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been conducting a parallel criminal investigation of the same business practices at the heart of James’ civil lawsuit. That probe lost momentum earlier this year after Bragg raised questions internally about whether a criminal case was viable, but the Democrat has said it has not been abandoned.

    At the same time, the FBI is continuing to investigate Trump’s storage of sensitive government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, and a special grand jury in Georgia is investigating whether Trump and others attempted to influence state election officials.

    All of the legal drama is playing out ahead of the November midterm elections, where Republicans are trying to win control of one or both houses of Congress.

    Meanwhile, Trump has been laying the groundwork for a potential comeback campaign for president in 2024 and has accused President Joe Biden’s administration of targeting him to hurt his political chances.

    State law allows a broad range of civil remedies against companies committing commercial fraud, including revoking licenses to conduct business in the state, removing company officers and forcing the payment of restitution or disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

    James’ office could also seek to ban Trump from being involved in certain types of businesses, as happened in January when a judge barred ex-drug company CEO Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life.


    In a previous clash with Trump, James oversaw the closure of his charity, the Trump Foundation, after her predecessor in the attorney general’s office, Barbara Underwood, filed a lawsuit alleging he misused its assets to resolve business disputes and boost his run for the White House. A judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million to an array of charities to settle the matter.

    James, who campaigned for office as a Trump critic and watchdog, started scrutinizing his business practices in March 2019 after his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements provided to Deutsche Bank when he was trying to obtain financing to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

    Since then, James’ office and Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly sparred over the direction of the investigation and Trump’s unwillingness to comply with subpoenas for his testimony and records. Trump spent months fighting the subpoena that led to his August deposition, his lawyers unable to convince courts that he should be excused from testifying because his answers could be used in Bragg’s criminal probe.

    In May, Trump paid $110,000 in fines after he was held in contempt of court for being slow to respond to a subpoena James’ office issued seeking documents and other evidence. The contempt finding was lifted in June after Trump and his lawyers submitted paperwork showing they had made a good faith effort to find relevant documents.
    _________

    A reminder: During his deposition, Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment 440+ times, deigning only to give his name and nothing more.

    This can be used against him if this goes to trial (it's called "negative inference") as this is a civil matter, not a criminal matter.
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

  • #2
    New York lawsuit against Trump, family could prompt new federal criminal inquiries

    The New York attorney general's lawsuit accusing former President Donald Trump and three of his children of perpetrating a decade-long fraud scheme carries no criminal penalties.

    Yet the extraordinary civil action, which seeks $250 million in penalties, could open new avenues of criminal inquiry by federal authorities already involved in a multi-pronged examination of Trump's conduct.

    While detailing a litany of allegations involving bank, tax and insurance fraud related to inflated valuations attached to the former president's residential and commercial properties, New York Attorney General Letitia James also revealed that she was referring the findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service for possible criminal investigation.

    Federal authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the local Manhattan district attorney's office has already been engaged in a parallel criminal investigation of the Trump Organization's finances in conjunction with James' office.

    Last month, Allen Weisselberg, Trump's longtime top business lieutenant, pleaded guilty to 15 criminal charges flowing from that investigation for a scheme that paid him lavish corporate benefits in off-the-books payments from the Trump Organization without paying taxes.

    The deal with the Manhattan district attorney's office requires him to testify truthfully if called as a government witness at the scheduled October trial of two companies of the Trump Organization, where Weisselberg long served as chief financial officer.

    That investigation was believed to have stalled short of implicating Trump earlier this year following the abrupt resignations of two prosecutors who had been leading the district attorney's inquiry.

    The resignations of Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz were submitted just over a month into the tenure of District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who succeeded longtime prosecutor Cyrus Vance. Vance did not seek reelection.

    At the time of their February departures, Pomerantz said in a resignation letter that Bragg had not authorized a prosecution even though authorities had amassed a powerful case against the former president who Pomerantz believed was "guilty of numerous felony violations."

    The letter was first published by the New York Times.

    Bragg has claimed that the investigation is continuing, and he reaffirmed that position following the disclosure of James' lawsuit.

    “Our criminal investigation concerning former President Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, and its leadership is active and ongoing," Bragg said Wednesday.


    But James' referrals to federal authorities appeared to intensify the pressure on Trump who has repeatedly cast the attorney general's actions as politically driven.

    Sarah Krissoff, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan who handled complex financial crimes, said the attorney general's lawsuit offers some potentially rich avenues of investigation for federal authorities.

    "There seems to be a lot of material in there that could be the basis of criminal charges," Krissoff said, referring to the alleged inflated property valuations used to secure bank loans. "The misrepresentations are so egregious.

    "I can't apply for a mortgage and say whatever I want on an application and take the proceeds," Krissoff said. "I have an obligation to tell the truth."

    Krissoff described the attorney general's lawsuit as "very strong."

    "Reading this as a defense attorney, I'm thinking your very first conversation with the client should be: 'You're in trouble.'"

    Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor, said the findings are only bolstered by their reliance on financial records – not personal testimony susceptible to challenge.

    "These allegations seem to be the type of claims that can be proved mostly by documents, which are difficult to refute," said McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan. "Documents don’t lie or forget."
    _____

    Only problem is that the IRS is a toothless old hound when it comes to investigating and prosecuting rich criminal assholes like Donald Trump.
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

    Comment


    • #3
      Trump and His Spurious Business Face a Reckoning
      The former president’s penchant for inflating his wealth, achievements and abilities could finally imperil his company.

      New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday accused former President Donald Trump, his three eldest children and their company, the Trump Organization, of financial fraud, contending they misled investors and falsely inflated the value of their assets by billions of dollars over more than a decade.

      Trump, a wildly insecure man, has spent most of his 76 years inflating his wealth, achievements and abilities, but James’s civil lawsuit, more than 280 pages long, is the first time his carnivalesque business practices have exposed him to existential legal consequences. James’s suit won’t land the Trumps in prison — only criminal convictions could do that — but it seeks to bar the Trumps from running a business in New York State and may unravel the Trump Organization.

      And the Trump Organization, based in a Fifth Avenue office tower bearing the family name, is a tangible reminder of the fortune that Trump inherited from his father and used to vault himself into the public consciousness and ultimately the White House. Trump, despite his celebrity, long felt overshadowed by his father, Fred, who carved a lucrative real estate portfolio out of modest Brooklyn and Queens properties and cozy ties to New York’s political machinery. Trump brought the family business into Manhattan and the spotlight. Now — for the second time in his career — he has put the family’s business legacy on the precipice. Trash-canning the New York remnants of what his father started about a century ago will weigh on Trump, regardless of whatever he says about it.

      “Claiming money you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal — it is the art of the steal,” James said at a press conference. “No one — no one — is above the law.”

      The Trumps have characterized James’s investigation as a political vendetta. An appellate court judge already disagreed with that assessment last spring and allowed the attorney general’s prosecution to proceed.

      A civil case holds advantages for James. She won’t have to prove to a jury that Trump intended to break the law — the high bar prosecutors must overcome in a criminal case. Trump and his son Eric also refused to answer questions posed by James’s prosecutors during depositions. The Trumps chose to invoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination hundreds of times, which can be used against them in a civil jury trial (something James couldn’t do in a criminal case).

      Still, James must prove crimes were committed. Her team has relied extensively on “Statements of Financial Condition” that Trump submitted to lenders (and journalists like me) as evidence of inflated asset valuations. The statements were unaudited, and Trump’s own accountants declined to certify them as complying with generally accepted accounting principles. Journalists may have been swayed by the statements, but whether banks were induced to make loans based on them alone is another matter.

      Banks are meant to be savvy lenders and conduct due diligence that goes beyond merely relying on the claims of borrowers. Did the financial statements alone persuade banks to do business with Trump? Probably not. Trump unsuccessfully sued me for libel in 2006 after claiming a biography I wrote, “TrumpNation,” misrepresented his wealth and business career. Although Trump told me in 2004 and 2005 that his net worth was anywhere from $1.7 billion to $6 billion (and suggested it might even be $9.5 billion), my sources at the time told me his wealth was closer to $150 million to $250 million. When Trump litigated the point with me, my lawyers produced a Deutsche Bank AG assessment of his finances that pegged his wealth at $788 million in 2005. Whatever Trump might have been peddling to Deutsche Bank in a financial statement didn’t convince the bank at the time that he was a billionaire.

      Being a sloppy and mendacious grifter is grotesque, of course. But convincing a jury that rolling that way also amounted to criminal behavior is a thornier affair. On the other hand, the fact that Trump and his children simply set out to mislead their lenders — even if they weren’t successful— might put them at odds with the law and a jury. We’ll have to see. James said she has also uncovered federal crimes and has referred those to the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service.

      In the meantime, Trump may choose to simply settle James’s case, pay $250 million in allegedly ill-gotten gains she wants disgorged and give up the business ghost in New York rather than wage yet another legal battle.

      He is facing intense scrutiny from the Justice Department about his handling of state secrets he took with him to Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving the White House. Federal investigators may choose to indict him on charges of committing a variety of possible crimes exposed during the Jan. 6 committee hearings. A state prosecutor in Georgia is probing whether he engaged in electoral fraud there in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. A criminal fraud inquiry in Manhattan has resulted in the indictment of the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and has also put the company in the cross hairs there.

      That’s a lot to contend with, even for a former president who relishes trench warfare.
      _______
      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

      Comment


      • #4
        The Art of the Steal
        New York drops the hammer on Trump. Sort of

        “For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them. Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples of this misconduct.” —New York Attorney General Letitia James.

        Well, yes. Getting away with stuff is pretty much his brand. And while James repeatedly stressed that there “are not two sets of laws for people in this country,” and that “no one is above the law,” for decades Donald Trump has been living proof that this is objectively not true.

        As Bloomberg’s Tim O’Brien noted, “Trump has spent most of his 76 years inflating his wealth, achievements and abilities, but James’s civil lawsuit, more than 280 pages long, is the first time his carnivalesque business practices have exposed him to existential legal consequences.”

        And that’s worth thinking about for a moment.

        While some of the specific details of Trump’s frauds laid out in the 222-page NY civil suit are, indeed dazzling, they are not even remotely surprising to anyone who has followed Trump’s career of serial flim-flams.

        Both his business and his political career sit on a throne of lies — fudged financials, inflated values, tax scams, and assorted frauds. “In fact,” the New York AG declared, “the very foundation of his purported net worth is rooted in incredible fraud and illegality.”

        And that was before Trump’s sordid one-term presidency and his disgraced exile — his obstruction of justice, election lies, and attempts to block the peaceful transfer of power. There has been so much mendacity, former prosecutor Barbara McQuade quipped yesterday, that Trump’s “misconduct is a distraction from his misconduct.”

        And through it all, the institutions that were supposed to hold him accountable — state, local, and federal prosecutors, special counsels, regulators, watchdogs, members of the U.S. Congress, and even the American electorate — failed. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss asks a haunting question.

        Michael Beschloss @BeschlossDC
        The New York lawsuit raises a legitimate question: how did our American political system allow someone who had for so long committed such offenses, if he is guilty, to be elected President in 2016?

        Understandably, Trump has come to think of himself as Teflon; and increasingly he is now able to call upon a Republican party that has internalized the notion that he ought to be untouchable. (See below for a new book on Mitch McConnell’s impeachment decision.)

        While AG James insisted that “we must hold former presidents to the same standards as everyday Americans,” a group of GOP state AGs filed an amicus brief attacking what it called the “unprecedented nine-hour search of former President Donald J. Trump’s private residence,” characterizing the search warrant as the Biden administration “ransacking the home of its one-time — and possibly future — political rival.”

        For MAGA, even investigating the Orange Jesus is a crime of lčse-majesté.

        **

        In a best-case scenario, the New York case could mark the beginning of end of Trump’s immunity from legal consequences. From the NY AG’s statement:
        .
        The lawsuit alleges that Donald Trump, with the help of his children Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and senior executives at the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums, and to gain tax benefits, among other things. From 2011-2021, Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization knowingly and intentionally created more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets on his annual Statements of Financial Condition to defraud financial institutions.

        Compelling stuff, but as O’Brien notes, “Being a sloppy and mendacious grifter is grotesque, of course…. Convincing a jury that rolling that way also amounted to criminal behavior is a thornier affair.”

        Even so, the consequences for Trump, his company, and his children could be grim. Because it is a civil case, James will not have to prove that the Trumps intended to break the law. Writes O’Brien: “The Trumps chose to invoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination hundreds of times, which can be used against them in a civil jury trial (something James couldn’t do in a criminal case).”

        The potential civil penalties would destroy Trump’s New York empire. The lawsuit seeks to:
        • Permanently bar Mr. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York Corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York state;
        • Bar Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any New York state commercial real estate acquisitions for a period of five years;
        • Bar Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from applying for loans from any financial institution registered with the New York Department of Financial Services for a period of five years;
        • Award disgorgement of all financial benefits obtained through the persistent fraudulent practices of an amount to be determined at trial and estimated to total at least two hundred and fifty million dollars ($250 million).
        • Permanently bar Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney from serving in the financial control function of any New York Corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York state;
        • Appoint an independent monitor to oversee compliance, financial reporting, valuations, and disclosures to lenders, insurers, and tax authorities at the Trump Organization for a period of no less than five years;
        • Replace the current trustees of the Donald Trump Revocable Trust with new independent trustees, and require independent governance in any newly formed trust should the Revocable Trust be revoked and replaced with another trust structure;
        • Require the Trump Organization to prepare, on an annual basis for the next five years, a GAAP-compliant, audited statement of financial condition showing Mr. Trump’s net worth, to be distributed to all recipients of his prior Statements of Financial Condition; and,
        • Cancel any certificate filed under and by virtue of the provisions of section 130 of the General Business Law for the corporate entities named as defendants and any other entity controlled by or beneficially owned by Donald Trump which participated in or benefitted from the foregoing fraudulent scheme.
        As horrific as all that would be for Trump, the gravest danger may be the criminal referrals to the SDNY and the IRS.

        Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT
        Trump was never going to get indicted as a sitting president and SDNY didn’t appear to go very far into looking into him. But the James referral gives them a second bite now that he is out of office, should they take that path.

        Exit take: Trump now finds himself besieged by multiple investigations: from election interference and fomenting an insurrection, to obstruction and espionage. In the end though, like Al Capone, it may be the tax man who gets him.
        ________
        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

        Comment


        • #5
          Trump Made N.Y. Attorney General’s Fraud Case Virtually Unbeatable
          He should have settled early, but he got boxed into taking the Fifth — and that can be used against him now.

          New York Attorney General Tish James raised eyebrows when she refused last-minute settlement overtures from former President Donald Trump. Her 222-page lawsuit filed Wednesday doubles down, asking for wide-ranging penalties against Trump, including $250 million and various bans that would bar Trump and his three oldest children from selling or acquiring real estate or applying for loans in New York for five years — potentially devastating measures for a company that depends on plastering the family name on properties for profit.

          It’s not hard to see why James is taking such a hard line. She has a winning hand.

          Yes, James’ bold campaign promises leave her open to allegations that she is biased and that her lawsuit is political. And, yes, she lacks the broad investigative and enforcement powers that criminal prosecutors have. But that is part of the reason why she will walk away with a big win here. Trump is fighting on many legal fronts at the same time — a grand jury in Georgia that might lead to an indictment for election interference there, an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged mishandling of highly sensitive classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and a federal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. If Trump were facing only the civil suit, his lawyer would almost certainly have permitted him to testify in the deposition with carefully crafted answers. But knowing the risks of his words being used against him elsewhere, he made a decision that will haunt him as James’ suit moves forward.

          James’ lawsuit is full of seemingly damning evidence, outlining a wide-ranging scheme to defraud lenders by vastly inflating the value of Trump’s assets. This is a pretty common fraud scheme. Fraud is when you lie to someone to get their money, and a common way to defraud lenders is to lie about the value of the assets used as collateral — or in this case, the assets of the person who personally guaranteed the loan — to make the loan less risky than it seemed to be. James alleges that Trump and his kids did this approximately 200 times between 2011 and 2021, sometimes inflating the value of properties by as much as tenfold, to secure more generous loans and insurance coverage as well as tax benefits.

          When I was federal prosecutor, I frequently prosecuted bank fraud that looked similar to what Trump and his company allegedly did. I even put away a rich real estate mogul who defrauded his lender. It’s not an unusual fact pattern to see. What is impressive is the sheer size of the scheme. Trump allegedly obtained $250 million via fraud over a 10-year period, and the various machinations he used to inflate the value of his holdings was extensive. James alleges that Trump exaggerated the square footage of his triplex apartment in Trump Tower, claiming it was 30,000 square feet rather than its actual size of 11,000 square feet, and therefore should be valued at $327 million rather than $80 million. It’s a price, James noted, that no apartment in New York city has ever commanded.

          The attorney general’s lawsuit doesn’t contain damning emails or text messages, the kind that prosecutors typically rely on to prove a defendant’s intent. But that might not be necessary under the New York law that James cited which focuses on repeated acts of deception. (And given that his own accounting firm Mazars USA has said it won’t stand by the statements it prepared for a decade, it’s going to be hard for Trump to argue the valuations were proper.)

          But perhaps the biggest reason James has such a winning hand is this: Trump dealt her the cards.

          In early August he invoked the Fifth Amendment some 440 times during his deposition in this case. It was undoubtedly the right move for him to make because he faces criminal investigations in multiple jurisdictions, and his words, even though they are ostensibly about matters unrelated to election interference could nevertheless be useful to prosecutors seeking to demonstrate his capacity for deception. Prosecutors could also use his words to bring criminal charges based on the alleged scheme that James uncovered.

          But taking the Fifth has severe consequences in this case. Unlike in a criminal case, in a civil proceeding like the suit brought by James, the jury will likely be instructed they can infer that when Trump took the Fifth, his answer would have been adverse to him. Trump’s repeated insistence that James’ politically motivated suit left him no choice will not withstand the effect of the jury inferring that Trump broke the law and has no good answer to the questions he was asked.

          That essentially screws Trump and his family in this case. It is no coincidence that James put in her lawsuit that when Trump was asked whether he “had an ongoing agreement from at least 2005 to the present with Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. McConney and others to prepare the Statement of Financial Condition in a manner that included false and misleading valuation statements, Mr. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to answer.”

          In a civil case like this one, that’s the ballgame. Trump, his son Eric, and others took the Fifth hundreds of times and they can expect James and her team to throw that back in their faces to prove their case. All of the other evidence is just supporting corroboration. The testimony of Trump and his family — or lack thereof — is the centerpiece.


          It is never easy to fight the attorney general of your state when she really wants to go after you. But Trump is overextended here because he is fighting a multi-front war. I frequently represent people and companies that are facing criminal and civil liability in different forums. Fighting on multiple fronts is hard and involves trade-offs.

          If I were Trump’s lawyer, I would have settled this case in its infancy. He delayed and dragged it out, just as he delayed and dragged on multiple criminal investigations for years. Trump might think it benefits him politically to claim James’ is part of the vast “witch hunt” (he has certainly fundraised well off of the recent investigations) but he will likely pay a legal price if he attempts to drag this out further. James hasn’t accepted a settlement yet. Eventually she will, and the price she extracts will be a doozy.
          ___________

          I'm guessing Trump's lawyers presented him with a simple scenario: Would you like to lose your freedom and probably that of your children? Then go into that deposition and do your usual "FIGHT!" thing. You'll talk your way right into a prison cell from the inevitable criminal charges that will follow this civil suit. Or....would you prefer to merely lose your company and wealth? Then plead the Fifth.
          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

          Comment


          • #6
            Donald Trump will fight hard against Letitia James' lawsuit. Ex-AG insiders say these are his top 5 defenses.
            • Donald Trump has 5 ways to fight Letitia James' lawsuit, ex-NY AG prosecutors told Insider.
            • Trump will play dumb, cry bias, and delay, delay, delay, they said.
            • James filed a 220-page lawsuit against Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization on Wednesday.
            Donald Trump will try every legal tactic possible to save his Manhattan-based business empire from New York attorney general Letitia James' lawsuit, former office prosecutors said.

            It won't be pretty, and barring a settlement, it won't be fast, they said of the slow-motion legal brawl to come. But it will be heated, these New York AG veterans said of the battle over Wednesday's lawsuit and its potentially corporation-crippling penalties.

            James accused Trump of routinely lying about the value of his properties to secure hundreds of millions in bank loans and tax breaks; she wants a judge to order $250 million in penalties and to bar the Trump family from selling, buying, collecting rent, or borrowing money in New York.

            The outcome is by no means assured.

            Insider spoke to three defense lawyers who, before going into private practice, spent years prosecuting complex financial cases for the New York AG's office. Here are their picks for Trump's top 5 defenses.

            Trump Defense No. 1: She's out to get me
            "I never heard of her," Trump complained to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday, hours after the lawsuit dropped.

            "But I saw this woman," he said of James' 2018 run for AG. "And she said, 'We're going to get him.'"

            "Her whole campaign was based on that," he added.

            It was not the first time Trump has raised the "She's out to get me" defense. He's cried "bias" repeatedly and unsuccessfully in fighting James' three-year investigation into the Trump Organization. In February he even compiled her history of anti-Trump statements into an 11-page spreadsheet.

            "They're definitely going to waste a lot of paper trying to make that argument again," in motions to dismiss filed in the coming weeks, predicted Tristan Snell, the lead prosecutor on the AG office's separate, successful investigation into Trump University.

            "It will get them nowhere," except for "whipping up their own supporters," said Snell, who went on to found MainStreet.law.

            "It's certainly not going to fly with the judge," agreed another former NY AG prosecutor, attorney and author Kenneth McCallion.

            But another former AG's office prosecutor, Armen Morian, thought the bias defense could still have legs as an argument for dismissing the lawsuit.

            "It's not trivial that she was out there saying, 'I'm going to go after Trump,'" said Morian, who prosecuted complex financial frauds from 2006 to 2019 before founding Morian Law.

            "It's a violation of her oath of office and a violation of his due process rights," Morian said.

            Defense No. 2: real estate valuations are subjective
            A property's worth is subjective, and Trump's side will certainly argue this in trying to beat James' lawsuit. But you can't simultaneously low-ball (for a tax break) and high-ball (to impress lenders) values for the same property, as James is alleging Trump did for years, the former prosecutors said.

            "They can't both be true" at the same time, said McCallion. "And you don't have to prove which one was true and which one was false" to show fraud.

            You also can't pull a valuation out of thin air.

            "There's subjective, and there's complete fantasyland," noted Snell.

            Fantasyland, as in Trump's objectively false 2015 claim that his Trump Tower triplex on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue spanned 33,000 square feet. It was actually 11,000 square feet, a whopper of an exaggeration first reported by Forbes.

            Tripling his square footage let Trump claim his triplex was worth $327 million in collateral for a bank loan.

            It's an "absurd" appraisal, James told reporters in unveiling the lawsuit, given that at the time, "only one apartment in New York City had ever sold for even $100 million."

            Morian countered, though, that it's common real estate practice for businesses to seek out and to use very different valuations, depending on whether you're trying to lower your taxes or impress a bank.

            "So long as the valuation is based on some rationale, you are not required to use the same methodology" for every appraisal, Morian argued.

            "The methodology could have been wrong. The methodology could have been optimistic. But that doesn't make a fraudulent statement," he said.

            "You can't say your 3-year-old daughter's version of the Mona Lisa is worth the same as the Mona Lisa," Morian explained. "That would be ridiculous. And you can't say the Mona Lisa is worth $3. But basically, there's a broad range of discretion for how you value assets."

            Defense No. 3: I just signed whatever they gave me
            Trump has claimed he signed all the questionable paperwork without really looking at it.

            "If he wasn't a sophisticated, or purported sophisticated, investor and developer that might be true," said McCallion, who heads McCallion & Associates and is the author of "Profiles in Cowardice in the Trump Era."

            "But Trump was a very hands-on guy, for better or worse, in the Trump Organization world."

            It's also safe to assume, Snell said, that Trump was repeatedly asked in his August deposition whether, in fact, he blindly relied on his appraisers and accountants.

            But instead of answering, Trump repeatedly pleaded the Fifth. Should the suit go to trial, case law allows the judge to infer that Trump was hiding the truth.

            "Answering 'I plead the Fifth' translates out to, 'No, it was me,'" standing behind all the funny math, Snell said.

            Still, the judge must at least weigh any "I just signed what they gave me" defense, Morian said.

            "Does that absolve him? Probably not," Morain said. "But it can be a very sound factual defense that the courts would have to consider."

            Defense No. 4: I never said you should trust me
            "We have a disclaimer, right on the front," Trump told Hannity of the financial statements James is suing over, the ones she says wildly exaggerated his worth.

            "And it basically says, you know, get your own people. You're at your own risk ... so don't rely on the statement that you're getting," Trump said his disclaimers warn, "because it may not be accurate. It may be way off."

            Besides, Trump argued, the banks that loaned him money "have the best lawyers in the world." They should know better than to take him at his word.

            "She's trying to defend banks that had unbelievable legal talent," Trump complained.

            Trump actually has a point, Morian argued.

            "All you have to do is put in a tiny footnote" in a financial statement, putting the bank on notice to double-check the numbers, "and that can be enough" to avoid liability for fuzzy math, he said.

            "Because it's assumed that the reader of the financial statement is a sophisticated party," Morian added. Besides, "I bet you all these [banks] were applying a 'Trump haircut' — they were assuming he was exaggerating shit by, say, 30 percent, who knows."

            Defense No. 5: No victim, no harm, no foul
            "By the way," Trump also told Hannity, "I paid 'em back ... They didn't lose money ... the banks made a lot of money. She's trying to defend banks that got paid off."

            It's the no victim, no harm, no foul defense.

            Or, as Trump White House budget director Mitch Mulvaney tweeted Friday, "Seriously, who is the victim here? If the banks thought they had been defrauded, they could sue on their own."

            Morian sees their point, too.

            "There's a yawning silence" from the banks Trump allegedly tricked into lending to him, he noted.

            And it's almost like James has filed what's known as a private claim, Morian added — "like the attorney general is suing on behalf of Deutsche Bank. She has no standing to do that."

            "That will be front and center in the motions to dismiss," agreed McCallion. "It will be her burden to show she has authority to bring this case."

            But James isn't calling the banks victims.

            The victims, she tweeted on Wednesday, are those she is sworn to protect, the people of New York state.

            "Trump's crimes are not victimless," she told reporters.

            "When the well-connected and powerful break the law to get more money than they're entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, small businesses, and taxpayers."
            _______

            Defense No. 1: She's out to get me - Prosecutors are always out to get criminals. Trump is a known tax cheat and fraudster.

            Defense No. 2: Real estate valuations are subjective - True BUT they are not 300-1000% (that's 3-10x) over valued. The scale of the crime shows intent not subjectivity.

            Defense No. 3: I just signed whatever they gave me - Trump is the CEO. CEO's, even incompetent ones like Trump, cannot hide on this excuse. You sign a fraudulent tax return, you are responsible.

            Defense No. 4: I never said you should trust me - Admission of guilt is a really bad defense. I don't recall the Ich Lüge disclaimer as being legally valid.

            Defense No. 5: No victim, no harm, no foul - False Statement. Fraud impacts citizens with unpaid taxes, banks who shouldn't have lent at favorable rates, and insurance companies who assumed unnecessary risks.
            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

            Comment


            • #7
              Letitia James and Trump’s Costly Lies
              Will the New York AG’s lawsuit—which accuses Trump and his family of repeatedly lying about the value of their assets—finally bring him to justice?

              New York Attorney General Letitia James’s 222-page lawsuit against Donald Trump, his three children, and a slew of his organizations (plus Allen Weisselberg, who recently pleaded guilty to 15 crimes in a separate but factually related criminal case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney) reads like the definitive tome of the Trump family’s financial shadiness. Its seven-count civil complaint reflects the work of a three-year investigation involving over 65 witnesses and millions of pages of documents, yet covering a single decade of Trump’s career, 2011 to 2021. Although a trial date is likely years off, Trump has reason to worry that the law might actually stick this time around.

              Bottom line: The state of New York alleges that the defendants, in their dealings with banks and insurance companies, grossly and fraudulently inflated their assets by billions of dollars—over 200 separate times—in order “to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, and to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums.” According to the complaint, these asset evaluations were all done internally, so Trump can’t readily rely an it-wasn’t-me defense.

              New York statutory law forbids “repeated fraudulent or illegal acts . . . in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of business,” but James doesn’t just allege civil fraud. She also claims that the Trumps “repeatedly and persistently violated” three New York penal (i.e., criminal) laws, and that the defendants engaged in multiple conspiracies to falsify business records and financial statements, and to commit insurance fraud—that is, that Trump, Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Weisselberg together agreed “to falsify the Statements of Financial Condition, supporting data spreadsheets, and other business records,” to make “materially inaccurate written instruments purporting to describe Donald Trump’s financial condition,” and to submit “materially false information” “in support of insurance applications” with the requisite intent for that conduct to violate the law.

              The current Manhattan D.A., Alvin L. Bragg, has indicated that the related criminal investigation started by his predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., is continuing, but there is no expectation these days that Bragg will indict Donald Trump himself. Criminal cases trigger a higher standard of proof than civil ones, which are less likely to require evidence of a defendant’s actual knowledge or intent. However, James reportedly passed along the entire package to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the IRS, which do not have jurisdiction over state law crimes but could investigate whether these actions amount to crimes under federal law. (Note that the banks involved are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and it’s a federal crime to make false statements to a financial institution.) Of course, Attorney General Merrick Garland already has his hands full with DOJ’s weighty investigation into Trump’s theft of classified materials from the White House retrieved by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in August. Garland is also probing Trump’s outsized role in the ongoing criminal investigation into the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

              Here’s just a tiny sampling of the lawsuit’s many intriguing factual allegations:
              • A bank-ordered appraisal valued the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street at $200 million in August 2010 and $220 million in November 2012. Yet in their statements of financial condition, Trump and the Trump Organization listed its value at $524 million in 2011, $527 million in 2012, and $530 million in 2013—more than double the value calculated by outside professional appraisers using the same underlying information.
              • Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower is 10,996 square feet, but in 2015 he calculated it as 30,000 square feet in size and valued it at $29,738 per square foot for a total value of $327 million. At that time, only one apartment in New York City had sold for $100 million, at less than $10,000 per square foot. In Trump Tower itself, the most any property had gone for was $4,500 per square foot.
              • In 2011 and 2012 financial statements, the defendants valued a cluster of apartments at Trump Park Avenue at nearly $50 million. But those units were rent stabilized, and thus judged by an appraiser in 2010 to be worth only $750,000.
              • In 2016, the defendants valued Mar-a-Lago based on a price-per-acre figure that was 120 percent greater than the prior year’s figure, using a purportedly comparable 1.61-acre property owned by the Trump Organization that sold for $49.9 million. Except it turns out that that other property was actually 2.61 acres, and the Trump Organization had used that correct figure in prior years. The discrepancy had the effect of increasing the 2016 value of that comparable property from $19.1 million to over $30 million and greatly inflating the reported value of Mar-a-Lago.
              • A tract of undeveloped land owned by Trump in Aberdeen, Scotland, was estimated at a value of $119 million in 2011, “based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated quote prepared by a Trump Organization employee for Forbes

              Recall that Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, announced in a February 2022 letter that it could no longer stand behind a decade of annual financial statements it prepared for the Trump Organization because of material discrepancies in the information the defendants provided as well as the actual value of the assets. Mazars undoubtedly knows that, unlike evidence in the form of verbal human testimony, documents and electronic communications cannot die, cannot lie, and cannot misremember.

              James’s lawsuit has serious financial implications for the Trumps and the Trump Organization (though it cannot produce jail time). If she succeeds at trial, James seeks to have the corporate certificates of every entity controlled or beneficially owned by Trump under New York law canceled. Meaning those businesses as currently constituted will cease to exist. They include, at a minimum, the businesses named as defendants in the case, including Trump Organization, Inc., the real estate development company that owns and operates buildings, hotels, golf clubs, restaurants, and casinos, and his Seven Springs golf resort in Bedford, New York. The complaint also aims to wrest control of the companies from the Trump family and give it to an “independent monitor” for at least the next five years; replace the current trustees of the Trump Revocable Trust (which include Don Jr. and Weisselberg); bar Trump and the Trump Organization “from entering into any New York State commercial real estate acquisitions” for five years and from “applying for loans from any financial institution chartered by or registered with the New York Department of Financial Services” for five years; and “permanently bar[] Mr. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York State.”

              But this request from James is the biggie:
              .
              Awarding disgorgement of all financial benefits obtained by each Defendant from the fraudulent scheme, including all financial benefits from lenders and insurers through repeated and persistent fraudulent practices of an amount to be determined at trial but estimated to be $250,000,000, plus . . . interest.

              James wants Trump to pay back the investors and insurance companies. According to Forbes, Trump is worth in the neighborhood of $3 billion. The implications of the lawsuit for Trump’s financial future are nonetheless significant.

              Assuming the lawsuit eventually goes to trial, how is it likely to turn out? Ask yourself whether, as a matter of logic and common sense, a jury might be persuaded that Team Trump was lying making inflated claims to the banks and insurance companies. Unlike the millions of regular Americans who routinely and dutifully tell the truth on financial forms—else they risk serious civil and criminal liability—Donald Trump’s actions reflect a lifetime of unaccountability and “come-and-get-me” tactics. Thus far, they’ve worked. We’ll just have to wait and see whether Letitia James finally puts an end to Trump’s winning streak against the rule of law.
              _____
              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

              Comment


              • #8
                Top prosecutor offers brutal news for Trump

                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  New York Attorney General Seeks Trump Trial by End of 2023
                  (Bloomberg) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a court filing she wants to go to trial in the state’s fraud lawsuit against Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization by the end of next year.

                  James filed a letter with a New York state judge Thursday saying she intends to seek an expedited conference to set the trial date.

                  Because the case “involves allegations of an ongoing scheme and conspiracy to obtain obtain millions of dollars through fraudulent activity, and that defendants repeatedly have sought to delay the conclusion of OAG’s investigation, it is imperative that this case proceed quickly,” James said.

                  Last week, James sued Trump, three of his children and the family firm, accusing them inflating the value of his real estate company’s assets. Trump has said the case is “another witch hunt by James.”

                  Her filing Thursday was a response to a request by Trump to move the case assigned to the Commercial Division of New York State Supreme Court, which handles complicated business cases. It was assigned to New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron on Thursday.

                  Engoron has been overseeing a parallel dispute during the past two years over subpoenas issued by the state, and the case should remain with him “in the interest of judicial economy,” James said.

                  “While the legal issues before Justice Engoron were tied to the enforcement of investigative subpoenas, the factual issues overlapped almost completely with the allegations in the complaint in this action,” the attorney general said.

                  The case is New York v. Trump, 452564/2022, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York (Manhattan).
                  ______
                  “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Donald Trump Jr. admits he doesn't understand basic accounting but signed off on dad's finances anyway
                    • Donald Trump Jr. told New York probers he doesn't understand basic accounting, a new filing says.
                    • He claimed ignorance when asked at a sworn deposition about signing his dad's financial statements.
                    • He said he remembers a little bit about accounting principles from 'accounting 101' at Wharton.
                    As sole trustee for the family business, Donald Trump Jr. routinely signs his father's financial statements — but he still insisted during a recent sworn deposition that he has very little actual understanding of accounting, New York officials revealed Thursday.

                    Asked about "GAAP," the generally accepted accounting principles that must be followed in the US, the younger Trump claimed nearly complete ignorance, according to court papers filed Thursday by New York state's attorney general, Letitia James.


                    "Donald Trump, Jr. testified that his only familiarity with GAAP was 'probably [because of] Accounting 101 in Wharton,' and that apart from knowing that they "are generally accepted," he could not identify any other knowledge he has about GAAP," the filing said.

                    Like his father and sister, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. "To be fairly candid, I used to drink and party pretty hard," he told New York Magazine in 2004.

                    James offered a peek into Donald Trump Jr.'s claimed accounting ignorance as part of a new court filing that alleges the Trump Organization is engaging in a continuing pattern of fraud, stretching beyond the 220-page lawsuit she filed against the former president, his family, and his business on September 21.

                    Her office is asking a Manhattan judge to bar Trump from shifting assets to "Trump Organization II," a new entity that is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit or in a pending Manhattan criminal prosecution of an alleged payroll tax scheme.

                    She is also asking the judge to immediately assign an independent monitor to oversee Donald Trump's finances and to require him to formally accept service of her lawsuit, something he has yet to do in the three weeks since it's been filed.

                    As for Donald Trump Jr., he did not assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — unlike his father and his brother, Eric Trump — when he gave a court-ordered deposition before the attorney general's investigators in August, Thursday's filing says.

                    Since 2017, the former president's namesake son has been a trustee for the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, the entity set up to oversee the Trump Organization when Donald Trump became president.

                    "Despite his role as a trustee, Donald Trump, Jr. had no specific recollection at all of the Statements," the filing says, referring to the annual statements of financial condition at the center of James' lawsuit.

                    "Donald Trump, Jr. testified that he has no understanding how the Statement is compiled each year," the filing continues.

                    "Donald Trump, Jr. testified that he was aware of an accounting firm being involved but otherwise had no knowledge of the process or mechanics of the Statements' preparation."

                    __________

                    I would imagine that Uday and Qusay have about as much knowledge of accounting and finance as their moronic father.

                    It's a good thing that he didn't place them in charge of his business aff....oh, right. There's that world-famous "business genius" at work again
                    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Trump started “Trump Organization II” on same day as fraud lawsuit to dodge accountability: NY AG
                      Letitia James concerned Trump may try to transfer assets ahead of possible punishment in $250 million fraud case

                      New York Attorney General Letitia James accused former President Donald Trump of forming a new company called "Trump Organization II" in a possible bid to dodge accountability in a lawsuit she brought against him, his company and his family.

                      James last month filed a lawsuit accusing Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization of a decade-long fraud scheme. The lawsuit alleges more than 200 instances of fraud intended to gain favorable loan terms or reduce tax liabilities and seeks $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump and his adult children from running any company in the state, among other penalties.

                      James in a court filing on Thursday revealed that the Trump Organization registered a new company called "Trump Organization II LLC" in Delaware on the same day that she filed the lawsuit.

                      "Beyond just the continuation of its prior fraud, the Trump Organization now appears to be taking steps to restructure its business to avoid existing responsibilities under New York law," the filing said.

                      The filing said that Trump's lawyers initially "offered no assurances" that assets would not be transferred to the new company to avoid potential liability in New York. Ahead of the filing, the AG's office said, "counsel did offer to provide assurances and advance notice to address what were described as 'purported concerns,' but again offered no concrete mechanism to either effectuate or enforce that offer."

                      James asked the court to bar the Trump Organization from transferring any assets and appoint a special monitor to ensure compliance. The filing also asks that the special monitor review "any new financial disclosures made to banks and insurers to ensure they are not fraudulent," James said on Twitter.

                      The filing requested to serve notice to Trump and his son Eric Trump electronically because "both defendants and their counsels have refused to accept service of the complaints for almost a month."

                      "Since we filed this sweeping lawsuit last month, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have continued those same fraudulent practices and taken measures to evade responsibility," James said in a news release. "Today, we are seeking an immediate stop to these actions because Mr. Trump should not get to play by different rules."

                      Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused James of political motives and "racism." Trump attorney Alina Habba on Thursday called James' filing "simply another stunt."

                      "We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper," Habba said in a statement to CNN.

                      Habba claimed that the filing was a "thinly-veiled attempt" to keep the case before state Justice Arthur Engoron, who has overseen matters related to James' probe and previously fined Trump $110,000 for refusing to sit for a deposition. Habba filed a pending request that the case be overseen by another judge.

                      James in her lawsuit accused Trump of lying to lending firms and insurers by overstating the value of his assets by billions while deflating the value of those same assets to lower his tax liability. James said she referred her findings to federal prosecutors and the IRS to review for potential federal crimes.

                      Thursday's filing said that James' three-year investigation has amassed enough evidence to succeed in the lawsuit.

                      "The evidence of the Trump Organization's fraud in deriving and presenting the asset valuations reflected in the Statements over the course of a decade-plus," the filing said, "is overwhelming."

                      _______________

                      I'm sure this is all 100% above board and honest.
                      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Donald Trump finally gets served $250 million NY fraud lawsuit after 3 weeks — and a court order
                        • NY's attorney general, Letitia James, sued the Trump Organization back on September 21.
                        • Reps for Donald Trump and Eric Trump finally got served, the AG said Thursday.
                        • Service took three weeks — and a judge's order — with the AG accusing Trump of 'gamesmanship.'

                        Donald Trump has lost the first legal skirmish in his battle against New York's attorney general, Letitia James, and her $250 million fraud case against him: After three weeks and a court order, he's been officially served with the 220-page lawsuit.

                        Trump was finally served through his attorney, Alina Habba, "by sending in electronic mail a message containing a secure cloud link to pdf attachments of all the documents," James said in a court filing Thursday.

                        The lawsuit accuses the Trump Organization of a decadelong pattern of fraudulently exaggerating the company's worth; it seeks a quarter-billion dollars in penalties and to bar the Trumps from doing business in New York.

                        Representatives for Trump and his son Eric, an executive vice president at his father's company, had evaded service of the lawsuit ever since it was filed three weeks ago, on September 21.

                        Habba and a lawyer for Eric Trump, Clifford Robert, never replied to emails sent by the attorney general that same day requesting confirmation that they were the appropriate persons to accept service, her office complained in a court filing last week.

                        Lawyers for all of the suit's other defendants, including Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., had meanwhile quickly accepted service.


                        The silent treatment from Donald and Eric Trump came despite Habba and Robert having submitted notices to the court in late September — called "notices of appearance" — declaring themselves to be attorneys of record for the case.

                        The apparent runaround led James' office to accuse Trump's side of "gamesmanship." Last week, she sought a court order that allowed her to simply email the papers to Habba and Robert and be done with it.

                        The Manhattan judge handling the case quickly agreed, ruling Thursday that emailing the papers to the two lawyers would suffice as service to both Trumps. James fired off those emails the same day, their Monday filing said.


                        Habba and Robert have not responded to Insider's requests for comment on the delay in service of the lawsuit.

                        The judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, set October 31 as the date for oral arguments in the lawsuit's next dispute.

                        The sides will argue over the attorney general's claim that the Trump Organization is so rife with ongoing fraud that it's in immediate need of an independent financial monitor to be appointed and overseen by the judge.

                        Another early dispute is simmering concerning Engoron himself, the same judge who in April found Trump in contempt of court for not fully complying with the attorney general's subpoenas in the two-year run-up to her filing suit.

                        Habba has asked that the lawsuit be transferred out of Engoron's courtroom to be handled instead by any judge in Manhattan's commercial division, which is tasked with complex business disputes.

                        ___________

                        LOL three weeks of running from Tish James like she's a Vietnam-era draft board

                        Who ducks getting served a legal document, whether it be a lawsuit or a subpoena? You either have to be in serious denial or somebody who knows they are guilty as sin. Trump may be in the unique position of being both - in denial as well as knowing he's guilty.

                        It sounds like Ivanka and Loser McCokeFiend are downright eager to cooperate though. Guess they can recognize a sinking ship when they see one.
                        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Trump Accuses Judge In Fraud Lawsuit Of 'Communist Takeover' Of His Company

                          In a particularly unhinged rant Friday, former President Donald Trump accused a New York judge of being part of a “Communist takeover” of his Trump Organization.

                          What Judge Arthur Engoron is actually doing is making decisions concerning a lawsuit against Trump and his three eldest children for $250 million over the alleged use of inflated company financial statements to mislead lenders in obtaining loans.

                          The suit was filed last month by New York Attorney General Letitia James (whom Trump always insists on calling “Peekaboo”). James’ office asked Engoron for “an expedited preliminary conference” to quickly schedule the trial for next year, arguing that the Trumps are engaged in an “ongoing” fraud.

                          James is seeking to prevent the Trumps in the interim from conducting business in the state and to curtail their access to loans.

                          “The statements of financial condition” concerning Trump assets were “greatly exaggerated, grossly inflated, objectively false, and therefore fraudulent and illegal,” James told reporters when she announced the filing of the suit.

                          “Claiming money that you do not have does not amount to the ‘Art of the Deal,’” she added, referring to the title of Trump’s ghost-written book. “It’s the art of the steal,” James said.

                          Engoron earlier this year held Trump in contempt of court for failure to turn over documents demanded by James.

                          Trump and his attorneys tried — and failed — to get Engoron bounced from the case.

                          Engoron is “vicious, biased and [a] mean ‘rubber stamp’ for the Communist takeover of the great & prosperous American company that I have built over a long period of years,” Trump claimed Friday on his social media platform, Truth Social.

                          James did not immediately respond to the latest Trump attack.
                          ________

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                          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The cope...it burns!
                            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                            Mark Twain

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Trump Organization unveils its defense strategy: Keep all the blame away from Trump
                              • Defense attorneys in tax-evasion trial of Donald Trump's business are trying to keep the blame off Trump.
                              • Trump's company, the Trump Organization, is facing multiple charges, including scheme to defraud.
                              • The fraud scheme "started with" ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg and "ended" with him, a Trump Organization lawyer said.
                              Defense attorneys in the New York criminal tax-fraud trial of former President Donald Trump's international real-estate company unveiled their strategy in the case on Monday — keep all blame off the former president and anyone else with the Trump name.

                              Prosecutors in the high-profile trial playing out in New York Supreme Court in lower Manhattan allege that the Trump Organization ran a 15-year scheme to trick tax authorities by giving top executives significant compensation in the form of untaxed "perks" like luxury cars and rent-free Trump-branded apartments.

                              Trump Organization lawyer Susan Necheles told the jury during opening statements on Monday that the fraud scheme "started with" former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg "and it ended with Allen Weisselberg."

                              Weisselberg pleaded guilty to the tax-dodge scheme over the summer. He agreed to testify truthfully about his own role as part of a plea deal. Under the deal, Weisselberg must serve five months jail and pay back $2 million.

                              But he and two other key prosecution witnesses are still on the Trump payroll and have been coordinating with Trump attorneys.

                              All three can be expected to support the Trump line of defense on the witness stand: that the tax-dodge scheme was a conspiracy by rogue Trump Organization executives who kept the very top of the company, including Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and the former president — its owner and sole beneficiary — in the dark.

                              "Donald Trump didn't know that Allen Weisselberg was cheating on Allen Weisselberg's personal tax returns," Necheles told the jury's four women and eight men. "The evidence will be crystal clear on that."

                              "Allen Weisselberg does not own the Trump Organization," she stressed.

                              Another Trump Organization attorney, Michael van der Veen, turned it into something of a mantra.

                              "Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg," he repeated no fewer than four times in his own openings.

                              Van der Veen likened Weisselberg to a "prodigal son" whose greedy scheming betrayed his "family" — the Trump family.


                              Weisselberg the "son" was nonetheless kept in the family fold, van der Veen said, using a Biblical analogy to explain away a sticky circumstance: Weisselberg and other prosecution witnesses are still being paid salaries and even have their legal defenses covered by Trump.

                              It was out of charity and forgiveness that Weisselberg was kept on the payroll, van der Veen suggested.

                              "He made mistakes," the lawyer said.

                              "Serious mistakes that have put his liberty at jeopardy ... crimes that have hurt his company," he added, countering prosecutors' insistence that the Trump Organization clearly benefitted from a scheme that kept their top executives happy and saved them in Medicare contributions.

                              "He has been removed from his position as chief financial officer," van der Veen continued. "But his ability to financially support his [own] family has not been stripped from him."

                              He added: "The meat of our defense is that Allen Weisselberg did not act at all with the intent to benefit the Trump Payroll Corporation."

                              The Trump Corporation is the Trump Organization subsidiary that directly employs its top executives, including Weisselberg. The Trump Payroll Corporation is the subsidiary that manages the payroll. Both do business as the Trump Organization, and both are defendants in the case.

                              Weisselberg has admitted to pocketing $1.7 million in tax-free perks over 15 years, including Mercedes-Benz luxury cars for him and his wife, free use of Trump-branded apartments on Manhattan's Hudson River and tuition for his grandkids' private schools.

                              The scheme saved him nearly a million dollars in taxes over 15 years, prosecutors have said.

                              But while "Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg" was the defense mantra, the prosecution's mantra — that Weisselberg was a "high managerial agent," a three-word phrase repeated in prosecutors' openings — was a bit less catchy.

                              Prosecutors must show that Weisselberg and a second executive who answered to him, former controller Jeff McConney, took actions on the company's behalf and were both "high managerial agents" under the law, meaning they were so high up in the company they can be equated with the company itself.

                              "The scheme was conducted and authorized ... at the highest level," said Susan Hoffinger, the Manhattan district attorney's investigations chief, during opening statements. She promised jurors entries in Donald Trump's personal financial ledger and a check he signed linking him to the scheme.

                              "This case is about greed and cheating," she told jurors. "Cheating on taxes."

                              Trump's company paid some $1.76 million in perks to Weisselberg over the last 15 years, Hoffinger told them, "and even paid him cash for his personal holiday gifts."

                              "We're going to focus in on the paper trail," she promised, including W2 forms and other tax documents she said were falsified to hide the perks from taxing authorities.

                              "Why not just give Allen Weisselberg a raise?" she asked rhetorically, before answering, "because doing it legally would have cost the Trump Organization more."

                              That included Weisselberg paying more in income taxes, and the company paying more in withholding taxes and Medicare contributions, she said.

                              The company was also able to "keep their trusted chief financial officer happy by paying him more," she said.

                              "Everybody wins here," she said. "Allen Weisselberg and the company … The problem with doing it this way is that it is not legal."
                              _________

                              That's the former Republican Party's defense as well
                              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

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