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Donald Trump and his adult children were prosecuted on Wednesday for “extensive acts of fraud and misrepresentation” by the New York State Attorney General in a civil investigation into the former president’s business practices American, according to court records.

The lawsuit, filed in New York state court in Manhattan, accused the Trump Organization of wrongdoing in the preparation of Trump’s annual financial statements from 2011 to 2021. It also named the Trump Organization, the son of former President Donald Trump Jr. and his daughter. Ivanka Trump as defendants.

Attorney General Letitia James said Trump and the Trump Organization misjudged the values ​​of his real estate properties to obtain favorable loans and tax benefits. She said she was referring allegations of foul play to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service.

“With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system,” James said in a statement.

The lawsuit marks one of the biggest legal blows for Trump since he left office in January 2021. Trump plans to run for president again in 2024.

James told reporters she was seeking to have the defendants relinquish all of the benefits he obtained from the fraud, estimated at $250 million. The lawsuit also seeks to bar Trump and his children from running corporations in New York and bar the Trump Organization from engaging in real estate transactions. James has been conducting a civilian investigation into Trump’s business practices for more than three years.

The Republican former president denied any wrongdoing and described James’ investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt. James is a Democrat. The Trump Organization called James’ allegations “baseless.”

Wednesday’s trial follows a contentious investigation in which James accused Trump, his company and some family members of using delaying tactics to ignore subpoenas and avoid testifying.

On August 10, Trump declined to answer questions during a lengthy closed-door deposition at the attorney general’s office, invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination more than 400 times.

Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump agreed to sit for depositions only after court rulings required it.

Another of Trump’s children, Eric Trump, invoked the right against self-incrimination more than 500 times in a 2020 deposition.

Trump has been plagued with legal troubles since leaving the White House.

The FBI conducted a search of its Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on August 8 as part of a criminal investigation into its handling of presidential records, including classified documents.

Trump also faces a criminal investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

He has denied wrongdoing in the various investigations.

James’ civil investigation is separate from a criminal tax evasion investigation against the Trump Organization led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The company is due to go to trial in October, accused of paying employee benefits. Its longtime former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has pleaded guilty and will testify against the company.

James assists Bragg in his criminal investigation.

(Reuters)

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