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N.Y. seeks $370 million in Trump fraud trial instead of $250 million

New York Attorney General Letitia James arrives at the State Supreme Court of New York in Manhattan to hear former president Donald Trump testify in his civil fraud case in November. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking a $370 million penalty against Donald Trump and his company instead of the $250 million the state sought when it filed a civil fraud lawsuit in 2022, according to a court filing Friday.

The increase to $370 million takes into account the former president’s profits from deals involving the Old Post Office hotel lease in Washington and the Ferry Point golf course in New York, according to the court filing. In those transactions, the company allegedly deceived the federal and New York City governments to score lucrative leases and management rights.

The filing Friday was the first time James has publicly cited a specific higher penalty than what was included in the original lawsuit. The company was accused of purposely misleading lenders and insurance companies about Trump’s net worth by up to $2.2 billion per year from 2011 to 2021 to get better terms in business deals.

James is also asking for an independent monitor to be appointed to oversee the Trump Organization, and for Trump, his adult sons and two former executives to be banned from the industry and prohibited from serving as corporate executives in New York.

“The conclusion that defendants intended to defraud when preparing and certifying Trump’s [annual financial statements] is inescapable; the myriad deceptive schemes they employed to inflate asset values and conceal facts were so outrageous that they belie innocent explanation,” James’s office wrote in the filing Friday.

Representatives of the attorney general’s office said during the trial, which began in early October, that the penalty sought was at least $250 million. James’s team of attorneys aimed to establish that lenders and insurance companies were cheated out of significant profits and that the Trump Organization made millions on deals that were obtained through deception.

Trump and his defense team have denied that any fraud or illegal conduct occurred, and have said that Trump did not exaggerate the value of his real estate assets because they were unique and in some cases worth more than what he reported in his annual financial reports.

Trump attorney Christopher Kise called the development Friday “unconscionable, unsupported by the evidence, untethered from reality and unconstitutionally excessive.”

The case is civil, which means no defendant faces prison time even if New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron finds that crimes related to falsifying records were committed.

Closing statements in the trial are scheduled for Thursday. Engoron has said he aims to make a ruling by the end of January.

Engoron has already found that the Trump Organization, the former president and several executives including Trump’s two adult sons committed fraud on a broad basis. As part of that decision, he ordered the cancellation of some Trump Organization business certificates and directed that a receiver be appointed to oversee the dissolution of those entities.