Trump and His Children Face Massive Civil Suit from New York Attorney General

Glynnis Jones /

The New York state attorney general launched a broad civil lawsuit this week against former President Donald Trump along with three of his adult children and the Trump Organization. The suit alleges that they were involved in a massive fraud that lasted over a decade so each of them had personal gain.

The lawsuit is more than 200 pages and Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, maintains that the fraud hit all aspects of the Trump business, its properties, and golf courses. James says that the Trump Organization lied to lenders, insurers, and tax authorities by increasing the value of their properties by using fraudulent appraisals.

The attorney general said at a news conference in New York that this kind of conduct can not be “brushed aside or dismissed” as a “good faith” mistake.

James said that the statements of financial condition were “greatly exaggerated, grossly inflated, objectively false, and therefore fraudulent and illegal.” Therefore her office was seeking relief and the defendants should all be held accountable.

Trump faces this legal challenge alongside his children: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump as defendants in the lawsuit.

They are joined as defendants by Allen Weisselbert, a former CFO for Trump, and Jeff McConney, another long-term executive in the company.

James is indicating that she will refer the information in this case to other courts that deal with state and criminal laws that have been violated. She is also going to refer this case to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service.

“These acts of fraud and misrepresentation were similar in nature, were committed by upper management at the Trump Organization as part of a common endeavor for each annual Statement, and were approved at the highest levels of the Trump Organization — including by Mr. Trump himself,” the lawsuit states.

James is seeking $250 million in allegedly ill-gotten funds in this civil case, but that is not all. She wants to permanently bar Trump and the children named in the lawsuit from serving as the director of a business registered in New York state. And she is also seeking to cancel the Trump Organization’s corporate certificate. If this is granted by a judge, it would force the company to stop operations in New York.

Trump is calling this whole case a “witch hunt,” and he called James a “renegade prosecutor” who he said is running a “vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition.” The organization sees the allegations as baseless and has denied any wrongdoing whatsoever.

Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, responded to the announcement of the lawsuit in a statement to CNN: “Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law — rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda. It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place.”

The attorney general alleges that Trump lied over 200 times about the value of his assets and made many fraudulent, false, and misleading representations throughout the decade. Many of the financial statements were issued annually and impacted transactions with financial institutions.

Each statement was personally certified as accurate by Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., or Weisselberg, according to James. And she said that Trump made it clear that he wanted his net worth reflected in the statements to increase. The defendants in the lawsuit carried out his orders in preparing the yearly statements, according to James.

The attorney general also said that Trump was asked under oath if he continued to review and approve these financial statements after he was in the Oval Office and he invoked his Fifth Amendment right by refusing to answer.