Trump lashes out at New York AG after losing gag order appeal

Republican presidential frontrunner insists financial statements ‘undervalued’, not overstated as Letitia James has alleged in $250m lawsuit

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 15 December 2023 12:36 GMT
The Trump Organization on trial: How it happened

Donald Trump has again lashed out at New York attorney general Letitia James on Truth Social, calling her “politically biased and motivated” in her investigation of his business and its financial statements, which he insists were really “undervalued”, not overstated as she has alleged and a judge has acknowledged.

Ms James sued Mr Trump, the Trump Organization and his three adult children in September 2022, accusing them of producing fraudulent valuations of their properties and misrepresenting their financial records, exaggerating their worth “by billions” to extract favourable terms from lenders and insurers.

The defendants in the case have consistently denied any wrongdoing but Ms James has sought $250m in compensation and branded the affair “the art of the steal”, parodying the title of Mr Trump’s best-selling 1987 business manual, resulting in the civil trial in Manhattan that wrapped earlier this week.

Raging away just hours after his legal team lost their latest appeal to overturn a gag order pertaining to the trial – which was kept in place to prevent Mr Trump from using his public platform to berate court staff – the Republican presidential front-runner insisted: “I am worth Billions of Dollars more than is shown on my very Conservative Financial Statements, THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE A.G. WITCH HUNT!!!”

He continued: “In addition to that, I have a 100% Disclaimer and Non-reliance Clause, stating CLEARLY that the user must do their own analysis and due-diligence. That’s what the banks stated IN Court that they did, and were PAID IN FULL, ON TIME AND ON SCHEDULE. NO VICTIMS, ONLY SUCCESS AND PROFITS.

“Hopefully, Judge [Arthur] Engoron, who should have never taken this NON JURY Trial, or should have dismissed it long ago, will show that the New York State Judicial System is ALIVE, RESPECTED, AND WELL. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!”

Judge Engoron, of the New York County Supreme Court, is next scheduled to receive final briefs from both sides on 5 January 2024 before hearing oral arguments on 11 January, after which he has said he aims to deliver a verdict by the end of the month.

Despite enduring days of in-court outbursts from Mr Trump and having to issue a series of gag orders after his lower Manhattan courthouse was flooded with death threats, the judge joked earlier this week that he would nevertheless “miss” the case once it was finally over.

Mr Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of almost everyone who has investigated him this year, most prominently Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith and Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, but appears to reserve particular animosity for Ms James.

Letitia James
Letitia James (AP)

The former public defender and city councilwoman has previously warned him that New Yorkers are not scared of him and pledged to shine “a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn”.

He, in turn, has repeatedly accused her of political bias, called her investigation a witch hunt and has even baselessly claimed that she is racist.

He has also branded her with one of his trademark trash-talk nicknames, “Letitia Peekaboo James”, which appears, so far, not to have phased her.

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