In its 222 pages, the suit struck at the core of what made Trump famous, taking a black light 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 later as president.
It details dozens of instances of alleged fraud, many involving claims made on annual financial statements that Trump would give to banks, business associates and financial magazines as proof of his riches as he sought loans and deals.
For example, according to the lawsuit, Trump claimed his
Trump applied similar fuzzy math to his Mar-a-Lago estate in
“This investigation revealed that
“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,” she said, referring to the title of Trump’s 1987 memoir, “The Art of the Deal.”
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 will refer those findings to federal prosecutors and the
James seeks 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
She also seeks to permanently bar Weisselberg and McConney from serving in the financial control function of any
James’ lawsuit comes amid a swirl of unprecedented legal challenges for the former president, including an FBI investigation into Trump’s handling of classified records and inquiries into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty
While James’ lawsuit is being pursued in civil court,
Trump cited fear of prosecution in August when he refused to answer questions in a deposition with James, invoking his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.
The odds of a criminal prosecution have been seen as falling in recent months after Bragg allowed a grand jury to disband without bringing charges. Bragg said again Wednesday, though, that the criminal investigation was “active and ongoing.”
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