In a groundbreaking development, a judge has found former President Donald Trump and his adult sons liable for fraud in the New York attorney general’s civil lawsuit against them. The lawsuit alleges that they engaged in fraudulent financial practices, including producing false financial statements and inflating the value of properties. The judge’s ruling sides entirely with the attorney general, stating that the financial statements were completely fraudulent and persistently used in business.
A Blow to Trump
This ruling is a significant blow to Trump and his family business. The trial, set for next week, will determine how much Trump will need to pay the attorney general. The judge also rejected Trump’s arguments about the valuations of his properties, stating that they were derived from a fantasy world, not the real world. Even claims about the size of his penthouse were addressed, with the judge deeming the inflation of square footage as fraudulent.
Implications for the Trump Organization
The implications for the Trump Organization are severe. The judge’s ruling essentially amounts to a corporate death penalty for the organization in New York state. The case invokes the powerful Martin Act, a statute enacted over a century ago to combat fraud. The Act doesn’t require proof of fraudulent intent or reliance on the false numbers. It only requires that the numbers kept on the books are false, which was indisputable in this case.
The Martin Act provides extraordinary remedies, including the ability to strip a business of its ability to operate in the state and order its dissolution. This means that regardless of the damages determined in the trial, the Trump Organization is effectively out of business.
The Road Ahead
While there is still an ongoing appeal by Trump’s lawyers against the attorney general’s office and the judge, today’s ruling carries significant weight. It highlights the clear-cut evidence against Trump and his family business and sets a precedent for holding them accountable for their fraudulent practices.
It remains to be seen how this ruling will affect the trial set for Monday. However, the implications for the Trump Organization’s ability to do business in New York state are substantial. The judge’s decision underscores the importance of adhering to ethical standards and the potential consequences of engaging in fraudulent financial practices.
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