23 Feb, 2024
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New York attorney general calls for new sanctions against Donald Trump

NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters) – New York’s attorney general on Tuesday asked a judge to sanction former US President Donald Trump, his adult children, the Trump Organization and their lawyers over their responses to her $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against them.

The lawsuit by Attorney General Letitia James last September accused the defendants of involvement in a decade-long scheme to manipulate asset values ​​and Trump’s net worth, in order to induce banks and insurers to provide better terms.

On Jan. 26, the defendants filed formal “answers” where, as often occurs in similar lawsuits, they are denied or claimed to lack sufficient knowledge about dozens of substantive accusations.

In a letter to the Manhattan judge overseeing the case, Arthur Engoron, James said many responses were “demonstrably false,” frivolous or otherwise improper. She said the Trumps should lose some of their defenses, as well as face sanctions.

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“The court has already admonished the defendants and their counsel for their continued invocation of meritless legal claims but exercised its discretion in not imposing such sanctions,” the letter said. “It does not appear that this point was taken.”

Lawyers for the Trump defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Former US President Donald Trump, who announced a third run for the presidency in 2024, hosted a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, US December 31, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

James said the improper responses included Trump’s objection to being labeled the “inactive president” of the Trump Organization during his White House term, though he had used that description in an October 2021 sworn deposition.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka was criticized by James for saying she did not know whether she had personally met with bankers, or could confirm the contents

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Donald Trump invokes Fifth Amendment rights but swipes at New York attorney general during deposition

“Under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” Trump said in a statement that was released to the public.

Trump was to be deposed by lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office as part of a more than three-year civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization misled lenders, insurers and tax authorities by providing them misleading financial statements.

In a separate two-page statement Trump read during the deposition that was obtained by CNN on Thursday, he criticized James, who was in the room, calling her a “renegade prosecutor” running a “vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition.”

A source familiar with the matter said Trump was angry at the start of the deposition and the mood was tense. But once the questioning began, with the state attorneys saying he could repeat the “same answer,” the atmosphere turned professional and cordial.

Trump said in a post on Truth Social earlier Wednesday morning that he would be “seeing” James “for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in US history! My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!”

Here's what's next for Trump after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago
The scheduled deposition comes during an extraordinary legal week for the former President. On Monday, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, his primary residence in Florida, in connection with an investigation into the handling of classified documents. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court denied his long-running effort to block a House committee from obtaining his tax returns.

Some Trump advisers had advocated that the former President answer questions since he previously tested about his financial statements under oath, while others were warned him against providing any answers because of the potential legal

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