A New York judge has found former President Donald Trump and his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, liable for fraud for inflating the value of their family businesses in order to get better deals from banks and insurers.
The ruling, which came as part of a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, could have devastating consequences for Trump’s business empire, as the judge also canceled the business certifications of the Trump entities that are defendants in the case, including the Trump Organization.
The judge, Arthur Engoron, said that Trump and his sons provided false financial statements for roughly a decade, and rejected their arguments that they were not fraudulent because they contained disclaimers, which Trump called a “worthless clause”.
Engoron said that the defendants’ reliance on these “worthless” disclaimers was worthless, and that the defenses Trump attempted to articulate in his sworn deposition were wholly without basis in law or fact.
James, who is seeking $250 million in damages and a ban on the Trumps from serving as officers of a business in New York, hailed the ruling as a “major victory” for the rule of law and the people of New York. She said that the ruling confirmed what she had alleged in her lawsuit, that the Trumps had lied to banks, insurers, and the government about the value of their assets, and that they had cheated the state out of millions of dollars in taxes.
Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing and has called the lawsuit a politically motivated “witch hunt”, slammed the ruling on social media, and said that he would appeal to the highest courts in New York or the federal system. He said that his company was a great company that had been slandered and maligned by the lawsuit, and that the ruling was very unfair and un-American.
Wonderwall reported on December 11, 2023 that the ruling, which came on September 27, 2023, has sparked a lot of reactions from celebrities, some of whom have expressed their support for James and her lawsuit, and others who have defended Trump and his family. Here are some of the notable reactions from the stars:
Roseanne Barr, the comedian and actress who was fired from her own show for making racist comments, tweeted sarcastically, “Arrest Trump for Mar-A-Lago’s use of non permitted garden hoses!!
Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of Trump and an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, mocked the judge’s valuation of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida, which the judge said was worth only $18 million, while Trump had claimed it was worth $261 million. Trump Jr. tweeted, “If Mar-a-Lago is worth $18 million… I’ll take 10 please!!!”
Whoopi Goldberg, the co-host of “The View” and a vocal critic of Trump, said on the show, “Because everyone is lying but him,” after seeing that Trump denied the charges against him.
Billy Baldwin, the actor and brother of Alec Baldwin, who famously impersonated Trump on “Saturday Night Live”, contrasted Trump’s fraud with President Joe Biden’s support for working class families and labor unions.
He wrote on X, “Days from a government shutdown and the GOP focuses on a Biden impeachment. Trump commits fraud forcing the dissolution of the Trump Organization. Biden supports working class families and labor unions on the UAW picket line. See the difference?”
Eric Trump, the second son of Trump and an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said on Instagram that he had lost all faith in the New York legal system, and accused the judge and the attorney general of having a coordinated effort to destroy his father’s life, company, and accomplishments.
He also disputed the judge’s valuation of Mar-a-Lago, and said that it was speculated to be worth well over a billion dollars, making it arguably the most valuable residential property in the country. He said that it was all so corrupt and coordinated.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former White House Director of Strategic Communications for Trump, said on “The View” that New Yorkers always kind of knew that Trump was a fraud and a charlatan and a conman, and that the ruling put it into the starkest terms.
She said that it was crazy that Trump inflated the value of Mar-a-Lago by 2,300%, and that an average person would be in jail for doing it. She also said that Trump thinks that being a loser or being poor or struggling financially are the absolute worst things, and that potentially seeing the sign Trump Tower taken off of 5th Avenue would be more devastating to him than sitting in a prison cell because it would say he’s unequivocally a loser in the place he always wanted to make it.
Michael Moore, the filmmaker and activist who has been a vocal opponent of Trump, tweeted, “Another reminder that this man, in totality, is a fraud. He is a scam artist. He steals from the public, his workers who have not been paid, the students of his ‘university’, his lawyers, his associates and business partners, and now his followers in donations that he pockets.”