A New York judge ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets and revoked his business licenses in the state, which could affect his ability to run his company.
The ruling came from Justice Arthur Engoron of the Manhattan Supreme Court, who agreed with New York Attorney General Letitia James that Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, made several false statements in financial documents to get better deals from lenders.
One example was that Trump claimed his penthouse at Trump Tower was 30,000 square feet, when it was actually about 11,000 square feet.
Engoron wrote that such a discrepancy, by a real estate developer who had lived in his own apartment for decades, could only be considered fraud.
The judge also ordered that the New York business certificates of the Trump Organization and any other businesses owned by the former president or his family in the state be cancelled, and that an independent third party be appointed to manage the dissolution of the cancelled businesses. This means that Trump could lose control over some of his properties in New York, including Trump Tower.
Trump reacted angrily to the ruling on his social media platform Truth Social, calling Engoron “deranged” and James a “completely biased and corrupt ‘prosecutor.’” He also claimed that he was being persecuted by the Democrats and that the country was becoming communist.
“We are rapidly becoming a communist country, and my civil rights have been taken away from me,” he wrote.
“This is Democrat political lawfare and a witch hunt at a level never seen before.”
Trump’s lawyers said they would appeal the decision, and called it a “miscarriage of justice.”
“Today’s outrageous decision is completely disconnected from the facts and governing law,” Christopher Kise, one of Trump’s lawyers, said in a statement.
“President Trump and his family will seek all available appellate remedies to rectify this miscarriage of justice.”
The judge also rejected Trump’s attempt to dismiss James’ other claims in the lawsuit, including that the statute of limitations had expired. He also imposed sanctions on five of Trump’s lawyers, ordering them to pay $7,500 each for making “frivolous” arguments in the case.
A trial without a jury is scheduled to start on Oct. 2 for Engoron to hear the rest of James’ case, which alleges that Trump, the Trump Organization, and his sons Eric and Donald Jr. overstated the value of their assets by up to $3.6 billion a year. James is seeking millions in penalties from Trump, as well as banning him and his team from running businesses or buying commercial property in New York for several years.
James said in a statement that she was looking forward to presenting her case at trial.
Trump’s spokeswoman Alina Habba said the ruling was “fundamentally flawed at every level” and “an affront to our legal system.”
She said that Trump and his family deserved their day in court, and that they would appeal the decision immediately.