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Political Litigation

New York A.G. James Lays Groundwork for Lawsuit Against Donald Trump

— September 16, 2022

James’s refusal of the former president’s settlement offer has been interpreted by experts as a signal that she’s preparing another lawsuit against Donald Trump.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has refused a tentative settlement offer from Donald Trump, which the former president had hoped might end the Empire State’s investigation into his real estate business.

According to The New York Times, James now seems prepared to launch a lawsuit against Trump and at least one of his adult children.

While the Attorney General’s office has yet to indicate which of Trump’s children it might pursue, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr., have all held executive positions with the Trump Organization.

The New York Times reports that James, a Democrat who is running for re-election in November, is reviewing allegations that Trump fraudulently exaggerated the value of his assets.

Trump allegedly falsely inflated the value of his assets so that he could obtain loans with favorable rates and other financial benefits.

New York Attorney General and former city council member Letitia James. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Matthew Cohen. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Trump has repeatedly denied any and all wrongdoing, condemning the years-long investigation as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Interestingly, the former president has also suggested that James—a Black woman—is racist.

The Times notes that Trump’s company is already indictment in another, unrelated case.

The Trump Organization, says the Times, is expected to go to trial next month in Manhattan. If convicted, the company could face harsh financial sanctions.

Although Trump is not named as a defendant in that investigation, his former chief financial officer has already pleaded guilty to participating in a tax scheme and has since agreed to testify for the prosecution.

The New York Times suggests that James might seek to “curtail” the Trump Organization’s real estate portfolio, although James has so far remained silent as to what sanction she might seek against the company if she does file a lawsuit.

So far, James and Donald Trump have had limited interaction: the two only came face to face last month, when Trump declined to answer the attorney general’s questions while under oath.

Trump purportedly invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination more than 400 times during the session; the former president only broke his silence to condemn James as a “renegade prosecutor” who is leading a politically biased and politically motivated “witch hunt” against the Republican figurehead.

The Times observes that Trump’s silence could have later consequences: in civil investigations, a defendant’s invocation of their Fifth Amendment rights could be held against them at trial.

Other Trump Organization officials, including Eric Trump, have also largely remained silent throughout the investigation.

Eric Trump, for instance, also invoked his Fifth Amendment rights more than 500 times in a 2020 deposition with James’s office.


N.Y. AG Letitia James rejects settlement offer from Trump, moves to file civil lawsuit in fraud case: report

N.Y. Attorney General May Sue Trump After Rejecting Settlement Offer

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