Trump Tries to Strike Down New York AG Case Before It Starts

by Jessica
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Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers and New York state investigators duked it out in court Friday morning, as both sides sought to score a decisive victory to avoid a trial that threatens to topple his real estate empire and drain his bank accounts.

“There was rampant fraud in preparation of Trump’s personal financial statements,” said Andrew Amer, a lawyer at the New York Attorney General’s Office.

“The defendants used those fraudulent statements repeatedly and persistently with banks and insurance companies in transactions seeking financial benefits.”

Amer argued that Trump has “ultimate responsibility” over the way he faked personal financial statements to inflate the value of his properties to augment his net worth by $2.2 billion or more.

The former president’s own records for the backbone of the $250 million lawsuit the AG’s office last year against Trump, his top lieutenants, and the heirs he appointed as Trump Organization executives.

“To the extent they try to blame others or downplay their roles… that does not shield them from liability,” Amer said, noting that the evidence shows that the former president can’t possibly claim that he isn’t directly responsible.

In one example, Amer noted how Trump repeatedly valued his South Florida oceanside estate of Mar-a-Lago at 28 times more than the official Palm Beach County government property appraiser.

A chart displayed in the courtroom showed how the former president’s winter home was valued by the county in 2018 at $25 million—while the real estate mogul set the value at $714 million.

Trump’s lawyers have apparently argued that the government appraisal was never meant to accurately capture the real total value of the property, which doubles as a social club.

But in court on Friday, the AG’s office noted that the county’s own documents actually show that the value reflects “the most probable sale price… in a competitive open market.”

As of 10:30 a.m., Trump’s lawyers did not yet speak in court. However, they have questioned the AG’s authority to pursue this lawsuit and argued that it seeks to clamp down on real estate deals that are too old to even consider in court.

The AG is hoping that Justice Arthur F. Engoron, who is already intimately familiar with the long-running investigation and case, will decide that Trump’s lies are entirely proven—and side squarely with law enforcement before the trial even starts.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team wants to convince Engoron that there’s no real case here. The five-lawyer team in court has also asked the judge to sanction the AG’s office for wasting everyone’s time with “frivolous” litigation.

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