Sanctions For Trump Lawyers Over N.Y. Fraud Lawsuit Under Consideration

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New York Judge Arthur Engoron told lawyers for former President Donald Trump in a legal dispute with New York state Attorney General Letitia James that he is considering imposing sanctions on the ex-president’s legal team.

James previously filed a sweeping civil lawsuit alleging a years-long pattern of financial misconduct at the Trump company, hinging in part on deceptive misstatements about the values of dozens of company assets. Those kinds of obfuscations were positioned to provide the Trump family business with unearned financial benefits like tax breaks, and accordingly, James seeks the return of $250 million she tied to the alleged deception, among potential consequences she previously outlined. Engoron raised the possibility of sanctions for filing frivolous litigation in response to a motion to dismiss from the Trump team he characterized as going through much of the same content the court already handled. Threatening penalties was apparently his idea rather than something for which James was pushing.

Trump’s attorneys in this ongoing lawsuit include Alina Habba, Christopher Kise, and Clifford Robert, and their arguments against allowing James’s civil lawsuit to stand included very generalized complaints about the supposedly political nature of the recently re-elected law enforcement official’s work. Engoron characterized key portions of the ex-president’s team’s contentions as the “same legal arguments that this Court previously rejected,” saying they were “making the same arguments based on the same facts and the same law.” A response from Trump’s team pointed to what they called “fundamental principles of advocacy and established law” as ostensibly undergirding their actions, ABC reported. They further described their actions as reflective of “the core of the adversarial process” that “in no way reflects any effort to disrespect the Court or impede the course of these proceedings.”

In another missive, Kevin Wallace on the attorney general’s team accused Trump and his lawyers of purposefully stalling, saying “the form of the rehashed arguments here appears calculated to delay the proceedings and needlessly divert the parties’ and court’s resources.”

Elsewhere, copies of six years of Trump’s personal federal income tax returns were recently released, as was information about the IRS’s handling of audits of the now former president’s files. Evidently, the agency kickstarted an audit of his 2017 and 2018 taxes shortly after he left office back in 2021. Information released by the Joint Committee on Taxation indicated it was unclear to the members of that Congressional body how that audit may have turned out, although the IRS evidently eventually backed up losses Trump claimed in connection to his defunct Trump University, which just to be clear wasn’t a university. Separately, the Trump company was also recently found guilty by a jury on all counts in a tax fraud case.