Donald Trump Lashes Out At Judge Who Found Him Liable For Fraud

You would be forgiven for forgetting that Donald Trump's legal troubles are being made worse by New York as the state's Attorney General Letitia James is suing him for $250 million. After all, that civil lawsuit was originally filed in September 2022, and it has been overshadowed by Trump's four criminal indictments throughout 2023. James' lawsuit in 2022 came after years of investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization and whether or not they fraudulently valued their real estate holdings for a decade. Trump sued the New York Attorney General in response, but that got shut down and her case continued.

That case is back in the headlines now. The most recent development in the case was Judge Arthur F. Engoron's ruling on September 26, 2023, confirming there was clear evidence of fraud with the Trump business valuations as they were used to get loans from banks or coverage from insurance companies. 

In his ruling, he referred to the defendant's claims of how they valued their properties as being arguments from "a fantasy world, not the real world." He also included the Palm Beach County assessor's appraisal value of Mar-a-Lago, which was "between $18 million and $27.6 million," according to the ruling. The Trump Organization put the club's value between $426 million to $612 million. Trump seemed to see the assessor's valuation as a direct attack from the judge, and he took to Truth Social to vent his frustration about the situation.

Donald Trump seemed particularly upset about the Mar-a-Lago valuation

In a post on Truth Social in response to Judge Arthur F. Engron's ruling that confirmed the Trump Organization committed fraud when valuing their properties, Donald Trump referred to Engron as a "political hack judge" and went on to say: "I have had very unfair judges since entering politics, but nobody has been as unhinged as this guy. Mar-a-Lago is worth, perhaps, 100 times more than he values it." Notably, it wasn't actually the judge's assessment of what Mar-a-Lago is worth, which has a number of restrictions on it in part because of its National Historic Landmark status, but rather a reporting of the county assessor's valuation.

In another post, Trump said, "I have a Deranged, Trump Hating Judge, who RAILROADED this FAKE CASE through a NYS Court at a speed never seen before [...] His anger & hatred is politically motivated & unprecedented by those who watched!" He also got in a hit on New York Attorney General Letitia James, referring to her as racist.

Trump also argued on Truth Social that the financial statements from his company were never meant to actually be believed at all since they all have a disclaimer that, "states that nothing in the financial statement should be accepted as fact!" This matches up with what the accounting firm that used to draw up Trump's annual financial statements said in early 2022: The statements were not reliable.

Donald Trump is being defended by those close to him

In the days after Judge Arthur F. Engron's ruling, Donald Trump posted about it and the lawsuit as a whole multiple times on Truth Social, referring to it in one particularly long post as a "witch hunt." He also posted "re-truths" in his defense, including one by Marjorie Taylor Greene. She wrote: "Mar-a-Lago's value is far more than real estate and buildings, beautiful ones at that, it's one of many Trump extremely successful businesses, which sets it's [sic] value extremely high! That Democrat activist judge wouldn't know his a** from a hole in the ground."

New York Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit against Trump is set to go to trial in early October. With this ruling, the trial won't be about if Trump and his company committed fraud, but rather how much they should be punished for it. Along with the Trump Organization and the former president, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are also named in the lawsuit. Ivanka Trump had been included, but she was dropped on an appeal. Both sons have used X, formerly known as Twitter, to voice their own complaints about the judge's ruling, with Eric repeatedly posting about his own personal innocence in the case.

Along with $250 million in damages, the lawsuit could stop the Trump Organization from operating in New York for five years. And it could bar the Trump family members named in the suit from serving on any company board in New York.