New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday sued former President Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, three of his adult children, and several of his associates and businesses for alleged “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” regarding financial statements.
James claimed at a news conference Wednesday that Trump “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars” and that his children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, helped him.
“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,” James said.
She claimed the Trump family sought “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.”
The 220-page civil lawsuit filed in the New York Supreme Court seeks at least $250 million in damages. It also seeks to permanently bar Trump and his three adult children implicated in the lawsuit from serving as an officer of a company in New York.
The suit further seeks to permanently prohibit the Trump companies named in the lawsuit from doing business in New York state.
Additionally, James wants to bar Trump and the Trump Organization from acquiring any New York real estate for five years and bar them from applying for loans from banks charted in the state for the same period.
James said the investigation only began after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen alleged to Congress that Trump made misrepresentations in financial statements.
The alleged misrepresentations included that Trump stated he had cash on hand that he did not have and ignored restrictions that would impact property values, James said.
The attorney general claimed what her office found in the investigation could constitute federal criminal law violations, including possible bank fraud crimes and making false statements to financial institutions. James said her office is making a referral to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the IRS.
The former president derided the lawsuit on his social media platform, Truth Social, on Wednesday.
“Another Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James,” Trump wrote. “I never thought this case would be brought — until I saw her really bad poll numbers.”
“She is a fraud who campaigned on a ‘get Trump’ platform, despite the fact that the city is one of the crime and murder disasters of the world under her watch!” he continued.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr dismissed the lawsuit against Trump and his children, calling it a “political hit job.”
“It’s hard for me not to conclude it’s a political hit job,” Barr said Wednesday on Fox News. “This is a woman who campaigned for office promising she was going to go after Trump, which I think is a tremendous abuse of office to go head-hunting and targeting individuals.”
Barr added that the decision to bring a civil case, not a criminal one, against Trump likely means there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
“She’s setting a lower bar and bringing this civil case. I don’t think it’s going to go any further,” he said.
Trump’s attorney Alina Habba also pushed back on the allegations against the former president.
“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,” Habba said in a statement.
“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. We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims,” she continued.