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New York wants Trump sanctioned over his ‘meritless’ claims, including that Trump Org doesn’t really exist

Letitia James, left. Donald Trump, right.New York Attorney General Letitia James, left. Former president Donald Trump, right.

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  • NY’s attorney general on Tuesday asked a Manhattan judge to sanction Trump — again.
  • Trump, his family, and Trump Org made ‘meritless’ responses to NY’s 2022 fraud lawsuit, the AG says.
  • Trump claimed Trump Org can’t be named in the AG’s suit because it does not exist as a legal entity.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is demanding cash sanctions — again — from Donald Trump.

James is arguing this time around that Trump, his three eldest children, his top executives, and his company should be punished for making “improper,” “demonstrably false” and “meritless” claims in their recent answers to last year’s massive, $250 million fraud lawsuit.

Those claims include Trump’s argument — in blocks of text that repeat dozens of times throughout 5,000 pages of filings from Thursday — that the Trump Organization can’t be named in the lawsuit because it’s just a branding shorthand that doesn’t exist as a legal entity.

Lawyers for James filed a letter on Tuesday asking the Manhattan judge presiding over the looming lawsuit to consider sanctioning the Trump defendants and their lawyers “for their continued invocation of meritless legal claims.”

The Trump defendants’ filings from Thursday are “deficient in a host of ways,” wrote Kevin Wallace, senior enforcement counsel for the attorney general’s office, in asking for sanctions.

Trump and the other defendants denied even unimportant things that they’d admitted elsewhere, according to Wallace, and are playing dumb about things “plainly in their knowledge.” 

Wallace gave multiple examples. One of the most noteworthy involves the attorney general’s mention, in the 29th paragraph of her lawsuit, that Trump had remained de facto president of the Trump Organization during his four years in the White House.

On Thursday, Trump objected to the attorney general’s use of the words “Trump Organization,” and then blanket-denied everything else in the 29th paragraph.

But Trump has said elsewhere — and under oath — that he never stopped being president of the Trump Organization, even while president of the United States, Wallace wrote.

“The allegation that Mr. Trump was the ‘inactive president of the Trump Organization,” while in the White House, is taken directly from his own sworn testimony in Galicia v. Trump on October 18, 2021,” Wallace wrote.

That’s a reference to Trump’s deposition in a civil lawsuit brought in New York by a group of protesters, a case that settled in November.

“Well, I wasn’t active during the time I was at 1600,” Trump had said in that October 2021 deposition.

“I would say that I was an inactive president” of the Trump Organization, he explained. “And now I’m active again.” 

Asked if there was ever a time when he ceased being the president of the Trump Organization, the former president had answered, “Not to my knowledge, no.” 

Wallace also addressed the defendants’ multiple “boilerplate” denials of the Trump Organization’s existence as a legal entity.

“First, it does not directly respond to the allegations,” he wrote, “and instead operates as a deflection that the Defendants use to avoid answering direct factual allegations.” 

“Second, Eric Trump and multiple entity defendants, including The Trump Organization, Inc., and DJT Holdings LLC, have already admitted that approximately ‘500 separate entities collectively do business as The Trump Organization,’ Wallace wrote, quoting from prior legal filings.

“Third, Defendants’ own documents and practices demonstrate that the ‘Trump Organization’ is more than a mere ‘shorthand’ but in fact reflects how the business is organized, how its top executives are appointed, and how the business presents itself to outside parties like the public and courts.”

Fourth and finally, the judge presiding over the lawsuit, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, has already rejected that argument, according to Wallace.

The attorney general’s demand for sanctions will be heard Wednesday in Engoron’s Manhattan courtroom.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Tuesday’s request for sanctions against Trump is the third for James’ office. 

The first — for failing to fully comply with James’ subpoenas —was approved by Engoron in May and is currently under strenuous appeal by Trump.

The second — for allegedly making “frivolous” claims against the attorney general’s office — was ultimately rejected by Engoron.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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