Five things to know about the NY AG’s new lawsuit against Trump

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Wednesday announced a civil lawsuit against former President Trump, the Trump Organization and three of his adult children, alleging more than a decade of fraud.

The attorney general’s lawsuit alleges that the former president’s company falsely inflated and deflated the value of assets in order to pay less tax and obtain better insurance coverage.

The civil lawsuit seeks $250 million in financial penalties and asks the New York State Supreme Court to bar Trump and his children named in the lawsuit from serving as officers or directors of any registered corporation or authorized in the state.

He also asks the court to bar Trump and the Trump Organization from acquiring real estate in New York or seeking loans from any financial institution in the state for five years.

Here are five things to know amid the trial announcement.

The lawsuit comes after a three-year civil investigation

New York Attorney General Letitia James stands on a podium during a news conference in New York City. (AP Photo/Brittany Newman)

James led a three-year investigation into the former president’s family business and finances in the state.

James at a press conference on Wednesday said his office interviewed more than 65 witnesses and reviewed millions of documents throughout the investigation.

The attorney general said Trump “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system, thereby deceiving all of us,” and that he did so with the help of his children and of two alumni named Trump Organization. leaders, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.

The lawsuit alleges the group engaged in a conspiracy to violate state laws, including falsifying business records, publishing false financial statements and committing insurance fraud, James argued. .

Suspected federal crimes, including bank fraud, are referred to federal prosecutors and the IRS.

For Trump, New York is close to home

FILE – Former President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower, August 10, 2022, in New York City, en route to the New York Attorney General’s office for a deposition in a civil investigation. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

The former president began his career in New York and began building his business empire there in 1976.

The Trump Organization is a real estate development company that owns and operates a number of resorts, hotels, golf clubs, and other businesses in New York City.

The famous Trump Tower stands on New York’s Fifth Avenue, but near the end of his four-year tenure in the White House, Trump announced he was moving his primary residence from New York to Florida.

The then-president had often retreated to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida during his tenure and has since made the resort his primary residence – a decision believed to have been made for tax purposes.

But even after turning his back on Manhattan, Trump maintained a large footprint in New York.

Trump’s two adult sons now run the Trump Organization, which he spun off in 2017 when he assumed the presidency.

Trump’s children are involved

Donald Trump, President and CEO of the Trump Organization, poses with his children Eric, left, Donald Jr., second from left, and Ivanka, at the opening of Trump SoHo New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The lawsuit names Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump alongside their father and alleges they engaged in a conspiracy to commit the crimes of fraud.

Eric Trump was questioned in 2020 and reportedly pleaded the fifth to more than 500 questions related to his work with the Trump Organization.

James subpoenaed Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. earlier this year, and all three have been deposed. Former President Trump was questioned last month and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights for all investigations.

Trump’s children played prominent roles in their father’s business orbit. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are currently executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization.

When Ivanka Trump served as White House adviser to her father during his presidential tenure, her business dealings with the Trump Organization raised concerns about conflict of interest.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump denounced the lawsuit on social media after the announcement, accusing James of a ‘witch hunt’ and arguing the lawsuit is politically motivated to boost James’ re-election bid ahead of the mid-election -mandate this year.

“It’s a question of politics. Arm his office to attack his political opponents! Donald Trump Jr. said on Twitter after the announcement.

Him and Eric Trump both shared video clips of James vowing to prosecute Trump as attorney general.

Former Attorney General William Barr criticized James on Wednesday for trying to “drag the kids into this.”

The fight between James and Trump was intense

FILE – New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a rally in support of home care workers. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Like his sons, Trump has long dismissed the investigation and argued that the investigation was politically motivated against him.

“Attorney General Letitia ‘Peekaboo’ James, a total disaster in the fight against crime in New York, spends all her time fighting for very powerful and well-represented banks and insurance companies, which have been fully paid , made a lot of money and never had a complaint against me, instead of fighting murder and violent crime, which is killing New York State,” Trump said on Truth Social shortly after. announcement of the trial.

“This is a failed AG whose lack of crime-fighting talent is causing record numbers of people and businesses to flee New York. Bye Bye!”

James spoke about his investigation of the former president, a fact that has fueled Trumps’ arguments that his investigation is politically motivated.

But the attorney general has consistently hit back at criticism and pushed ahead with the investigation despite attempts by Trump and his team to block its progress.

“My office will follow the facts of any case, wherever they lead. Make no mistake: no one is above the law, not even the president,” James wrote on Twitter back in 2019.

She echoed the same sentiment after the lawsuit was announced on Wednesday. “There are no two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as ordinary Americans,” Jacques wrote on Twitter.

That’s not the only legal battle Trump faces

FILE – President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

As the longstanding investigation in New York turns into a trial, Trump continues to face a series of other legal challenges, including investigations and lawsuits relating to his presidential campaign, tenure and business practices.

The lawsuit follows last month’s FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Officers executing a search warrant in Palm Beach, Fla., found more than 100 classified documents and dozens of empty files marked classified, extracted from the White House and stored at Trump’s home after his term ended.

Court records revealed investigators suspected Trump of multiple Espionage Act violations for his mishandling of documents, and Trump’s legal team is now engaged in a battle to prevent the DOJ from reviewing seized documents. .

The Justice Department and a House select committee also continue to investigate the January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol.

Members of the House committee lobbied for the DOJ, which has the power to prosecute what the committee lacks, to direct its probe to Trump and criminally investigate the former president.

Jan. 6 Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was the target of much anger from her former party leader for her work on the panel, said that the investigation had gathered evidence of a “supreme abandonment of duty.”

In Georgia, a special grand jury is investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 election.

Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis (D) has subpoenaed a number of prominent people from the Trump sphere in connection with the investigation, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C. ), Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), and attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis and Cleta Mitchell.

–Updated 5:07 p.m.

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