Letitia James pushes for $370M Trump fine in NY trial

 January 7, 2024

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking over $370 million from Donald Trump and aiming to prohibit him from conducting any business in the state as the contentious civil fraud trial surrounding his family's business practices concludes.

The lawsuit, initiated by James, accuses the former president of inflating property values, including his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, to secure favorable loan terms.

The details

Originally suing Trump for $250 million, James' recent filing argues for the increased sum, asserting that the former president engaged in numerous deceptive schemes to inflate asset values and conceal facts.

Trump's defense contends that there is no evidence supporting James' claims, emphasizing the absence of witnesses corroborating the allegations.

Judge Arthur Engoron had previously found Trump and his sons Don Jr. and Eric liable for fraud. The post-trial briefs were submitted following an 11-week trial, concluding last month, to determine the financial repercussions for Trump and his business. Closing arguments are scheduled for next week, and a ruling could be expected by the end of the month.

Trump responds

Responding to James' $370 million demand, Trump denounced it as corrupt on his Truth Social account, asserting his innocence and criticizing what he labeled as prosecutorial misconduct and a DOJ witch hunt.

His attorney, Alina Habba, described the penalty as absurd, framing it as politically motivated persecution against the leading Republican presidential candidate.

Trump's legal team concluded their defense in the fraud trial on December 13, with the former president opting not to testify and his son Eric making an unexpected appearance.

The controversy

The final courtroom skirmish occurred after Trump's failure to appear in his defense, contrary to his initial forecast.

His son Eric unexpectedly attended the trial's concluding moments. Trump, posting on social media, declared that he had already testified to everything and had nothing more to add.

Trump's legal team, led by attorney Chris Kise, officially rested their defense, prompting Judge Arthur Engoron to quip about the improbability of ruling in their favor. Throughout the trial, Trump consistently criticized the judge as "crooked" and directed posts targeting Engoron's wife and chief judicial clerk.

Attorney Alina Habba, representing Trump, dismissed the penalty as absurd and characterized it as politically motivated persecution against the prominent Republican presidential candidate.

Despite the trial's conclusion, the legal battle continues, with closing arguments and a potential ruling expected in the coming weeks.

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Thomas Jefferson
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