New York Fraud Trial Sparks Legal Action By Former President Trump

Former President Donald Trump filed a notice on Wednesday of a New York judge’s finding that his company had unlawfully inflated multiple properties’ value and net worth.

The former president’s appeal to the Appellate Division occurred amid a civil trial in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The former president has strongly contested the judge’s August ruling that he falsely inflated the value of his properties, particularly Mar-a-Lago.

Last year, the judge publicly labeled President Trump as “a bad guy” and ordered the removal of certifications that allowed several of President Trump’s businesses, including the Trump Organization, to function in New York.

Democratic candidate Ms. James has requested compensation of at least $250 million. Along with a five-year restriction on commercial real estate for President Trump and the Trump Organization, she also wants to restrict the former president from running enterprises in New York.

However, a notice of appeal was filed with the Appellate Division, New York’s second-highest court, by the former president, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and others.

“This appeal is taken from each and every part of the Order insofar as Appellants are aggrieved,” the court filing stated.

Before a courtroom this week, Judge Engoron said his belief that President Trump and the other co-defendants likely disagree with sections of his judgment and will appeal on this premise.

“This trial is not an opportunity to relitigate what I have already decided; that is why we have appeals,” the judge said.

Trump has made several court appearances this week, often addressing media outside the courthouse. On Wednesday morning, he responded to the judge’s accusations about his wealth, stating, “My real net worth is much higher than that, much higher than the statement.”

“This is just a continuation of the witch hunt that started the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower,” the former president said, adding that the trial was the beginning of communism in the United States.

Former President Trump posted on Truth Social criticizing Judge Engoron’s clerk, Alison Greenfield, and the next day, Judge Engoron imposed a partial gag order and chastised Trump for it.

“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable and inappropriate. Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing, or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said.

It came after Trump posted a photo of Greenfield and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), suggesting she has ties to the New York senator. The former president allegedly made the post, which he later deleted on Tuesday, while in court.

Trump told the reporters he would testify during the trial at the appropriate time.

Before the trial’s start, Ms. James issued a statement that reiterated her civil case’s claims and asserted that President Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system, adding: “We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during the trial.”

On the other hand, some real estate experts criticized Judge Engoron’s ruling that Trump had overvalued Mar-a-Lago in a report published on Wednesday. They argued he relied on information that few realtors use.

“Appraisal values and market values are just not the same thing. It’s a well-known fact,” Eli Beracha, the chair of the School of Real Estate at Florida International University, stated. “That’s especially true for unique properties. And it’s very easy to reason this is a unique property,” he said, referring to the Palm Beach resort.