Monday, April 15, 2024

Letitia James Says She Will Seize Trump’s Property If He Doesn’t Pay $363M+ Fine

'At the end of the day how he pays for the judgment is really not my business...'

(Headline USA) New York Attorney General Letitia James said this week that she will seek to seize former President Donald Trump’s property in the state if he does not pay a $363 million fine handed down to him in a civil fraud case.

Trump, his two oldest sons and the Trump Organization were all ordered to pay exorbitant fees on Friday after Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the Republican leader and former Manhattan real-estate mogul inflated his net worth in order to secure more favorable loan terms. 

Trump said he plans to appeal the ruling, but James, an elected Democrat, told ABC News she was confident the ruling would stand. 

Regardless, he is expected to pay up a portion of the penalty in the short term to an escrow account or else forfeit his material assets.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James said.

“So at the end of the day how he pays for the judgment is really not my business,” she added. “At the end of the day, he is responsible and liable for $363 million dollars, plus a hundred million dollars in interest.”

When pressed on the legitimacy of Engoron’s decision, given there were no victims in the civil fraud case, James insisted that Trump was in the wrong.

“Financial frauds are not victimless crimes; he engaged in this massive amount of fraud,” she claimed.

“It wasn’t just a simple mistake, a slight oversight,” she continued. “The variations are wildly exaggerated, and the extent of the fraud was staggering.” 

James also pushed back on concerns from the business community that any real estate developer in the state is now at risk of punishment for overestimating the worth of property.

“If average New Yorkers went into a bank and submitted false documents, the government would throw the book at them, and the same should be true for former presidents,” she said.

James, who campaigned in 2018 on a platform of prosecuting then-President Trump, spent years in dogged pursuit of his tax records, colluding with House Democrats, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and an IRS contractor who illegally leaked Trump’s taxes in a sweeping effort to pin fraud charges on him.

@9021mobb She’s about as impartial as a vegan judging a BBQ competition! #trump #lawfare #nyc ♬ original sound – 9021mobb

After shopping for the perfect judge to try the case, she found her kindred spirit in Engoron, who relied heavily on the notes from his partisan law clerk, Allison Greenfield, while issuing several unprecedented edicts from the bench including a bizarre gag order—something normally reserved only for criminal jury trials.

Engoron—who predetermined Trump’s guilt before the trial—also used his own arbitrary calculations to assess the worth of properties, wildly undervaluing the actual market value of holdings like Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla., which the judge calculated at $18 million.

An expert witness in the trial placed its market value at more than $1 billion.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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