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Trump Will Try To Cut Judgment By Arguing There Were No Victims

With Donald Trump appealing a $453.5 million real-estate fraud judgment against him, experts anticipate he will highlight the lack of traditional victims in the case to reduce or eliminate the damages. New York Attorney General Letitia James won the case by documenting intentional fraud in Trump's inflated claims about his assets when applying for loans and arguing Trump should surrender “ill-gotten gains.” Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the fraud was so long-running and remorseless that it “borders on pathological.” Deutsche Bank and other lenders haven’t sued Trump for crafting the exaggerated statements of his net worth that persuaded them to charge lower interest rates. Debating who Trump hurt among sophisticated financial institutions is likely a key point in the appeal, reports USA Today

"To what extent does a large financial institution have to do their own diligence?" asked Syracuse University law Prof. Gregory Germain. “It’s a significant question, especially since he’s always had a reputation as a blusterer.” To avoid paying the judgment while the appeal is argued, Trump must ask the appeals court to pause Engoron's order. Typically, the appeals court would require a bond to assure Trump would pay if he loses. The appeals court could ask for a bond that is a small fraction of the judgment because of the lack of traditional victims in the fraud case. Engoron had ruled that Trump committed fraud for years in overstating the value of properties in his real-estate business. Engoron ordered Trump to pay $453.5 million in penalties and interest for “ill-gotten gains” from the fraud. Trump contends the case has no victims because banks got repaid with interest. Trump’s lawyers argued James targeted him for a victimless offense. “There’s no evidence, no proof, that any of the terms would have been different,” Trump lawyer Christopher Kise told Engoron in closing arguments. “There’s no real-world impact, there’s no fraud victims.”


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