In a seismic legal blow to Donald Trump, a New York judge’s recent ruling has thrust the former president into the center of a high-stakes lawsuit, unraveling a decades-old narrative of success built on what the judge calls a “fantasy world” of cheating and fraud.
The lawsuit, spearheaded by the state’s attorney general Letitia jams, alleges Trump and his cohorts inflated assets by billions, engaging in a pattern of deceit to defraud banks and insurers.
Engoron ruled that Trump’s statements of financial condition were fraudulent, but Trump said, “We have a clause in the contract that says, essentially, buyer beware.”
In response, the judge wrote: “In defendants’ world: rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies. This is a fantasy world, not a real world.”
The judge’s 35-page decision, if upheld, could not only expose Trump’s alleged history of corruption but also deliver a crippling blow to his business empire. Unlike previous criminal charges, this fraud lawsuit poses a tangible threat. The financial fallout for Trump could be substantial, with millions in lost revenue and penalties on the line and the loss of his New York properties.
Before entering the courtroom in New York on Monday, Trump claimed that the civil case brought against him by the New York Attorney General was a deliberate effort to undermine his campaign.
“This is about election interference, plain and simple. They’re trying to undermine me so that I don’t perform as well as I am in the election,” Trump said.
Before stepping into the New York courtroom, launched verbal attacks on New York Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney General Alvin Bragg, and the Justice Department.
“This is a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt of all time,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.
As the trial began, James responded to Trump’s attacks by stating: “No one is above the law.”
The trial was expected to take up to three months but it will likely be shorter given the resolution of the fraud claim.