New York, Oct 14 (UiTV/IANS) – New York Attorney General Letitia James has asked a state court on Thursday to block the Trump Organization from moving its assets from Manhattan to an entity in Delaware and continuing “it’s decade long fraud” which her earlier law suit alleged that former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children were involved in to enrich themselves.
James filed a motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday, telling the judge: “In short, there is every reason to believe that the defendants will continue to engage in similar fraudulent conduct right up to trial unless checked by order of this court.”
The Attorney General’s office wants to block the Trump Organization from transferring assets to any entities without court approval because it felt that the same day that it announced its $250 million lawsuit against the former President and his company, the Trump Organization incorporated a new entity in Delaware, Trump Organization II LLC. The state says the Trump Organization has not provided any assurances that it will not move assets out of New York to avoid potential liability, CNN reported.
Trump has sought to move the case from the current judge assigned in the case, and to the commercial division. The Attorney General’s office has opposed the move.
James’ office filed a $250 million lawsuit last month, against Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization alleging they used fraudulent financial statements to obtain favourable rates of insurance and loans and tax benefits. The Trumps say the investigation is politically motivated and called Thursday’s legal filing “another stunt” to aid James’ re-election campaign for Attorney General.
The Attorney General’s office asked Judge Arthur Engoron to block the Trump Organization from submitting financial statements to lenders, insurers and others without providing additional information about the techniques it used to value assets. In addition, the state wants a judge to impose an independent monitor to oversee the financial statements.
“The requested targeted relief is designed to mitigate further fraud and illegality during the pendency of this action because the company has present and continuing obligations under existing loan agreements to prepare and disclose Mr. Trump’s Statement of Financial Condition as of June 30, 2022 and may also seek additional financing from lenders and renewal of insurance programs on the basis of that Statement,” the state attorneys wrote, CNN reported.
“The OAG’s filing is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to keep this case with Justice Engoron rather than have it transferred to the Commercial Division where it belongs. We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper. This is simply another stunt which Ms. James hopes will aid her failing political campaign,” said Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump.
The state also is asking permission to serve Trump and Eric Trump electronically, noting that both individuals and their attorneys have refused to accept service of the lawsuit for nearly one month.
In a bid to bolster their position that they will succeed on the merits of their lawsuit, state attorneys cited a number of examples that they said weigh in their favour, including Trump asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refusing to answer questions during his deposition this summer. In a civil case the jury can be instructed to apply an adverse inference against a defendant who doesn’t answer questions.
In addition, they note that during his sworn testimony, Donald Trump Jr, a top executive of the Trump Organization, “incredibly disclaimed all responsibility for the Statements and their contents” noting that Trump Jr. testified that he was not familiar with generally accepted accounting principles and was not involved in preparing the financial statements.