Massive Fraud Lawsuit Against Trump Family Upheld By Judge

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New York Judge Arthur Engoron has denied motions from Donald Trump and his three most prominent adult children to dismiss a lawsuit filed by New York state Attorney General Letitia James alleging a years-long pattern of financial misconduct at the Trump Organization, which is the Trump family business.

Engoron’s decision means the case, in which James is seeking the return of $250 million she tied to the alleged misconduct, is still moving towards a trial evidently set for October of this year. Engoron concluded the Trumps’ motions restated arguments with which the court already dealt, including that James supposedly lacked the appropriate legal standing to bring the case, that disclaimers included on deceptive statements of financial value protect defendants from liability, and that — to summarize the idea — James’s investigation and subsequent case are political in nature. The motion to dismiss from Ivanka Trump argued she was improperly included in James’s allegations considering her alleged distance from the scrutinized actions, although Engoron outlined some of the facts indicating her involvement in large transactions like the Trump company setting up a (now defunct) hotel in the Old Post Office building in the nation’s capital.

Engoron also noted Ivanka’s personal profits of over $10 million from that hotel sale, suggesting that money could be subject to orders demanding she turn it over. Elsewhere, the judge noted a rejection of the argument James was acting solely over personal — and what here would also mean political — animosity in February of 2022, and yet, similar arguments from the Trumps’ corner continued. Engoron previously threatened sanctions in facing some of these largely restated arguments, although he declined to issue such penalties in his new order.

Some of the other contentions from the Trumps’ corner that he rejected in this order include that relevant statutes of limitations restricted what James could do to the point of dismissal. Defendants raising that argument were, Engoron said, simply wrong. He also discussed how a legal doctrine pinning the date relevant to such a determination as the most recent contested action in a series means — since James alleged misconduct up to 2021 — her case remains valid, taking that principle as applicable.

The public now also has access to six years of personal federal income tax returns for Trump himself, in addition to information about the IRS’s handling of audits into his filings. Reportedly, the agency kickstarted an audit of his 2017 and 2018 filings shortly after he left the White House, although it’s unclear whether that examination has concluded in its entirety yet. James previously said she’d be providing information to federal authorities.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons