A New York judge has ruled that Donald Trump and his adult sons are liable for fraud, finding that they provided false financial statements for approximately ten years. The ruling came just days before the civil case between the New York attorney general’s office and the former president was set to go to trial. The judge granted the attorney general’s motion for summary judgment, determining that Trump and his sons were “liable as a matter of law for persistent violations” of New York state law. The judge found that the financial statements provided by the Trumps to lenders and insurers were false and that they had engaged in fraud repeatedly.
The judge’s decision is a significant blow to Trump and a complete rejection of his arguments that he did not inflate the values of his properties. The New York attorney general has sought $250 million in damages, a ban on the Trumps from serving as officers of a business in New York, and a five-year prohibition on the company engaging in business transactions. Among the allegations against Trump is that he inflated the value of his triplex apartment at Trump Tower, resulting in an overvaluation of between $114 million to $207 million. The judge deemed such a discrepancy to be fraud.
Trump’s attorney has criticized the ruling, calling it “completely disconnected from the facts and governing law.” He stated that Trump and his family will seek all available appellate remedies to rectify what they believe to be a miscarriage of justice. Despite the ruling, the case will still proceed to trial, with the attorney general’s office seeking to hold Trump and his sons liable for insurance fraud and false business records. The judge’s ruling means that the attorney general’s office has already won on its first two claims and will receive some disgorgement, the exact amount of which will be determined at trial.