Court Battles

New York attorney general will seek sanctions against Trump in civil fraud lawsuit

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) plans to seek court sanctions against former President Trump in her civil fraud lawsuit, her office told a state judge on Tuesday.

James’s office said formal answers to her $250 million lawsuit filed by Trump, his three oldest children and the family’s businesses last week were “deficient in a host of ways” and merit sanctions for them and their attorneys.

“Defendants falsely deny facts they have admitted in other proceedings, they deny knowledge sufficient to respond to factual allegations that are plainly within their knowledge, and they propound affirmative defenses that have been repeatedly rejected by this Court as frivolous and without merit,” Kevin Wallace, senior enforcement counsel in James’s office, wrote.

Wallace asked New York Judge Arthur Engoron for a meeting as soon as possible to set a briefing schedule for the sanctions motion.

James filed the lawsuit in September alleging the former president and his businesses for years manipulated property values for investment and loan benefits, the culmination of her multiyear investigation.

She named the former president, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and a number of the family’s business entities as defendants and asked for $250 million in financial penalties.

Engoron earlier this month denied the Trumps’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, requiring them to formally answer the complaint so the proceedings can move forward.

The Trumps filed their answers on Thursday, largely rejecting James’s allegations.

In Tuesday’s letter, Wallace contended they included false denials and ones that didn’t actually respond to the allegations.

Wallace in particular pushed back on how the Trumps repeatedly answered many allegations by taking issue with how James attributed them to the “Trump Organization.” The Trumps said no such legal entity exists, so James failed to properly specify who committed the conduct. 

“It does not directly respond to the allegations in the Verified Complaint, and instead operates as a deflection that the Defendants use to avoid answering direct factual allegations,” Wallace responded.

The lawsuit is scheduled to head to trial in October.

The Hill has reached out to attorneys for the former president, his three children named in the suit and their businesses for comment.

A federal judge in Florida sanctioned the former president and his legal team more than $900,000 earlier this month for his case against Hillary Clinton. He issued a scathing opinion that described the lawsuit as “frivolous” and part of “a continuing pattern of misuse of the courts.”

In the days following, former President Trump dropped two lawsuits that he had filed against James. One sought to stop her civil investigation that ultimately sparked the fraud case, and the other looked to block her access to his personal trust as part of her case.

His battle with James is one of many sprawling legal fights involving the former president, which comes as he begins his 2024 campaign for the White House.

Manhattan’s district attorney is probing former President Trump for hush money his fixer paid to an adult-film star just before the 2016 presidential election and his family’s business practices.

The former president also faces federal investigations into the mishandling of records at Mar-a-Lago and efforts to block the 2020 transition of power. The Fulton County, Ga., district attorney is investigating his attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election result.

Tags Arthur Engoron Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Donald Trump Jr. Eric Trump Ivanka Trump Kevin Wallace Letitia James Letitia James Trump Organization

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