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Letitia James wants Trump, sons, and lawyers fined $10K each for repeatedly making losing arguments in her fraud case

Letitia James wants Trump, sons, and lawyers fined $10K each for repeatedly making losing arguments in her fraud case
  • Trump's legal team keeps making the same failed arguments in court papers, NY officials say.

  • NY AG Letitia James asked a Manhattan judge to fine Trump, his sons, and his lawyers $10,000 each.

  • This would penalize Trump's team for wasting everyone's time with failed and "frivolous" arguments, she says.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has had enough of Trump's same old losing arguments.

In a blistering court filing Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a Manhattan judge to impose $10,000 fines apiece on Donald Trump, his two eldest sons, and their lawyers for recently raising the same "frivolous" legal arguments in fighting her $250 million business-fraud lawsuit.

Over the past year, she argues, and most recently last week, lawyers for Trump have repeatedly raised these arguments in fighting the case, which is scheduled to go to trial October 2.

Among those losing arguments are claims that the case is a politically-motivated witch hunt, and that James has no legal standing or capacity to sue him because Trump's alleged business frauds did not harm the public.

"The attorney general's motion is itself frivolous," Trump attorney Clifford Roberts told Insider Tuesday, declining to comment further.

These cross-accusations of frivolity were set off last week, when James asked the judge to resolve part or all of the case pretrial.

In fighting this proposed preliminary injunction, Trump once again raised some previously-failed arguments, including questioning James' standing and capacity to bring the case.

Trump also repeated another failed argument, claiming that disclaimers in his disputed bank filings warned banks not to rely entirely on his math – disclaimers the former president said in an April deposition made the filings "worthless."

"This Court soundly rejected these three arguments" – standing, capacity, and the filings' so-called "worthless" clause – in decisions going back to October, 2022, James said in a memorandum of law also filed Tuesday.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled back then that the "worthless clause" was itself worthless, because the language in the clause "makes abundantly clear that Mr. Trump was fully responsible for the information contained within."

Allowing "blanket disclaimers to insulate liars from liability" would completely undercut banking filings, the judge wrote.

Engoron rejected those same three arguments – standing, capacity, and the "worthless" clause – a month after that first rejection, in tossing Trump's November, 2022 motion to dismiss the whole case.

"The court rejected these arguments for a second time, noting that they 'were borderline frivolous even the first time defendants made them,'" James wrote Tuesday.

"Sophisticated defense counsel should have known better," Engoron chided at the time, though the judge rejected financial sanctions at that point.

Engoron even "observed that reading Defendants' brief  'was, to quote the baseball sage Lawrence Peter ('Yogi') Berra, 'Deja vu all over again,'" James wrote Tuesday.

Trump's dismissal arguments failed on appeal, only to be "exhumed" again last week, James said Tuesday.

Engoron should set "the maximum allowable sum" for sanctions, James argued, "because Defendants and their counsel were previously admonished by the Court that their conduct in raising previously-rejected arguments was frivolous and sanctionable," James wrote Tuesday.

The attorney general is seeking $220,000 in sanctions, or $10,000 for each plaintiff, including the Trump Organization and nine related trusts and LLCs, plus Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, former CFO Allen Weisselberg, company comptroller Jeffrey McConney, and seven defense lawyers.

The attorney general alleges in her lawsuit that Trump and his company routinely inflated the value of his properties in a decade of financial fillings. In relying on this fraudulent math, banks extended hundreds of millions of dollars in loans at lower interest rates, she says.

In other financial filings, Trump allegedly lowballed his properties' worth to save on property taxes, the attorney general has said.

Trump has denied wrongdoing. In a deposition made public last week, he raised many of the same arguments, including that no bank was victimized and that disclaimers in his disputed financial filings render them "worthless."

Engoron has yet to rule on the attorney general's early-decision or sanctions requests. He also hasn't ruled on team Trump's open request that the whole case be tossed. The judge has promised that the matter will go to trial in his Manhattan courtroom on October 2 "come hell or high water."

But the judge, who will preside over the non-jury trial, has previously sanctioned Trump for failing to fully comply with James' subpoenas for his personal business documents. Her office has suggested this will lead to further penalties.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider