New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, three of his children and officials at the Trump Organization, accusing them of lying to lenders and insurers for years.
At a news conference, James said that Trump inflated and deflated his net worth as needed with help from his children, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. Also named in the suit are former Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg and Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney.
“Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to pay lower taxes, to satisfy continuing loan agreements and to induce insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums,” she said.
In a statement obtained by The New York Times, officials with the Trump Organization said the lawsuit was politically motivated. James is a Democrat who has voiced opposition to Donald Trump, a Republican, consistently over the years.
“As we all know, today’s filing has nothing to do with the facts or the law,” the statement said, according to the Times. “Instead, it is about politics, pure and simple.”
The former president accused James, who is Black, of being racist and heading “Another Witch Hunt” in a post on social media. He added in a subsequent post that James “is spending all of her time fighting for very powerful and well represented banks and insurance companies … instead of fighting murder and violent crime, which is killing New York State.”
Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter that James was “weaponizing her office to go after her political opponents,” later adding that she “doesn’t care about the law.” Eric Trump said in a tweet that James “is not working for the Attorney Generals office – she is working for the (Democratic National Committee).”
The attorney general launched an investigation into the Trump Organization in 2019, after Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that he inflated and deflated the value of his assets on financial statements for years to suit his needs.
The former president has long derided James’ investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt. In December, he sued to halt the inquiry, though a federal judge later dismissed the case.
James said her office interviewed 65 witnesses and reviewed millions of documents as part of its three-year investigation. She added that “the conduct alleged in this action also violates federal criminal law, including issuing false statements to financial institutions and bank fraud.”
“We are referring those criminal violations that we’ve uncovered to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service,” she said.
James is asking that Donald Trump be made to pay $250 million, that the former president and the Trump Organization be barred for five years from applying for loans in New York and that Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump be prohibited from running any corporation or similar business in New York, among other things.
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