Judge rules that Trump committed business fraud

September 26, 2023

New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled Tuesday that former President Trump committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire. 

Engoron made his summary judgement in a civil lawsuit brought by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. The Judge in the Supreme Court 1st Judicial District in New York agreed in part with James’ allegations that Trump and his companies, including his two adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, had committed more than 200 instances of bank, tax and insurance fraud over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021.

Judge Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment—making it nearly or completely impossible for the Trump Organization to continue to do business in New York State. The judge further said that an independent monitor would continue to oversee the company’s operations. 

“On November 3, 2022, this Court found preliminarily that defendants had a propensity to engage in persistent fraud by submitting false and misleading statements of financial condition (“SFCs”) on behalf of defendant Donald J. Trump,” Engoron wrote. “Accordingly, the Court granted a preliminary injunction against any further fraud and appointed the Hon. Barbara S. Jones (ret.) as an independent monitor to oversee the defendant’s financial statements and significant acid transfers.”

The decision, which came just days before the case was set to go to trial in Manhattan on Monday, was the strongest renunciation so far of the former President and real estate mogul’s image as a brilliant business tycoon. 

The summary judgment resolves the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but six other claims remain. James is suing Trump and the other defendants for $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in his home state. The trial could last into December, according to Engoron.

Attorneys for Trump had asked the judge to throw out the case during the hearing, which he denied.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing, calling James’ case a political witch hunt. In August 2022 during a deposition in James’ office, he pleaded the fifth against self-recrimination more than 400 times.

The judge’s entire preliminary ruling can be read here.

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