In a significant legal development, a New York judge has held former US President Donald Trump and his adult sons liable for fraud, ruling that they provided false financial statements for approximately ten years. The ruling comes just before the civil case brought by the New York Attorney General’s office against the Trumps was set to go to trial. Judge Arthur Engoron granted the Attorney General’s motion for summary judgment, declaring Trump, his sons, and others “liable as a matter of law for persistent violations” of New York state law. The judge found that the financial statements provided by the Trumps to lenders and insurers were false and that they had engaged in repeated fraud.
Judge Engoron not only rejected Trump’s deposition testimony but also dismissed his claim that disclaimers in the financial statements made them non-fraudulent. Trump argued that the statements contained a “worthless clause” warning lenders and others not to rely on them. However, the judge asserted that the defendants’ reliance on these disclaimers was itself worthless. While liability has been established in this ruling, the remaining issues for the upcoming trial include determining liability on other claims and assessing the amount Trump and the other defendants should pay.
The lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General’s office alleges that Trump, his children, his companies, and his business executives defrauded lenders, insurers, and other entities by presenting them with false information in financial statements. According to the Attorney General, Trump gained a significant financial advantage of $150 million in the form of favorable interest rates from banks he misled. This ruling holds immense ramifications for Trump and his family, as they have been found liable for fraud and will face further legal consequences as the trial proceeds.