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New York judge rules Trump committed fraud and lied about his net worth for years

A New York judge ruled in the state attorney general’s $250 million lawsuit against Donald Trump and his company Tuesday that the former president committed repeated acts of fraud for years.

According to the ruling, which allows the civil trial to begin next week, Trump lied to banks and insurers by both overvaluing and undervaluing his assets when it was to his benefit, while at the same time exaggerating his net worth to the tune of billions of dollars.

In his 35-page ruling, Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump continually lied on his financial statements and was able to get favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums as a result. Trump’s legal arguments defending the statements are based in “a fantasy world, not the real world,” Engoron wrote.

The judge went on to say that the case was essentially a “documents case,” and “the documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business, satisfying [the attorney general’s] burden to establish liability as a matter of law against defendants. Defendants’ respond that: the documents do not say what they say; that there is no such thing as ‘objective; value; and that, essentially, the Court should not believe its own eyes.”

“The defenses Donald Trump attempts to articulate in his sworn deposition are wholly without basis in law or fact,” Engoron added.

At one point the judge pointed to Trump having exaggerated the size of his New York apartment to pump up its value, repeatedly claiming it was over 30,000 feet when it was a third of that size.

“A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud,” Engoron wrote.

The judge found Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, and their companies liable for fraud.

He also denied Trump’s motion for summary judgment that argued New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit should be dismissed. Engoron sanctioned Trump’s attorneys $7,500 each for making legal arguments that had already been rejected twice.

The judge further ordered that the outstanding issues in the case will get resolved at trial.

NBC has reached out to Trump’s attorneys and James’ office for comment.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and insisted that the suit is part of a partisan “witch hunt” against him. In a social media post Monday, he called Engoron a “Trump Hater beyond even A.G. James.”

The trial is scheduled to start on Monday. Since it’s a bench trial, the case will be decided solely by the judge, with no jury.

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