New York’s Attorney General says she will seize Donald Trump’s assets if he fails to pay $355 million civil fraud fine

New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, has vowed to take over Donald Trump’s properties if he fails to pay the $355m penalty for his NYC financial fraud case.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference at the Office of the Attorney General in New York on February 16, 2024. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)(AFP)

James told ABC News on Tuesday night that she would use legal means to force Trump to surrender his assets if he does not have enough money to cover the fine.

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“We will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James said. “We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day.”

James was referring to Trump’s skyscraper in Manhattan, one of the many buildings the state could seize.

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Why the fine?

The fine was imposed by a New York judge last Friday, after finding Trump, his two eldest sons, and associates guilty of inflating his net worth to get better loan terms.

The judge, Arthur Engoron, said Trump exaggerated his net worth by up to $3.6bn a year, when he was running for president in 2016 and 2020.

Trump and his lawyers have rejected the verdict and accused James of pursuing a political agenda. They have announced their intention to appeal the ruling.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, called the verdict “manifest injustice” and part of a “multi-year, politically fueled witch-hunt that was designed to ‘take down Donald Trump’”.

Trump refutes the verdict

The former president also defended himself on his social media platform Truth Social, saying that there were no victims in the case.

But James dismissed Trump’s claims and said she had a strong case against him, pointing out that “financial frauds are not victimless crimes”.

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“He engaged in this massive amount of fraud. It wasn’t just a simple mistake, a slight oversight, the variations are wildly exaggerated, and the extent of the fraud was staggering,” James said.

The fine is not the only legal trouble for Trump. He also faces a $83.3m judgment for defaming the writer and journalist E Jean Carroll, who accused him of sexual assault.

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