Donald Trump and his children were charged Wednesday with fraud by the New York State Attorney General, who has been conducting a civil investigation into the former US president’s business activities for more than three years, according to court records.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan District Court, accused the Trump Organization of “much fraud and deception” in preparing Trump’s annual financial statements from 2011 to 2021. It also identified the Trump Organization, the former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. , and his daughter Ivanka Trump.
Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation focused on whether the Trump Organization misrepresented the prices of its real estate in order to receive favorable loans and tax breaks.
James was due to make an announcement at 11:30 AM EDT (1530 GMT). She has said the investigation has revealed “important evidence” that Trump and the company fraudulently valued many of his assets.
The Republican former president denies any wrongdoing and described James’ investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt. James is a Democrat. The Trump Organization has called James’s allegations “baseless”.
Wednesday’s lawsuit followed a controversial investigation in which James accused Trump, his company and some family members of using delaying tactics to ignore subpoenas and avoid having to testify.
Trump declined to answer questions in a lengthy closed-door statement at the attorney general’s office on Aug. 10, invoking his constitutional right to self-incrimination more than 400 times.
Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump agreed to sit for statements only after court decisions required it.
Another Trump child, Eric Trump, invoked the right to self-incrimination more than 500 times in a 2020 statement.
The lawsuit marks one of the biggest legal blows to Trump since he left office in January 2021. Trump plans to run for president again in 2024.
(with input from Reuters)
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