George Washington University’s law professor, Jonathan Turley, recently expressed his concerns regarding the actions of Democratic Attorney General Letitia James of New York. He believes she is determined to dismantle former President Donald Trump’s business ventures.
A recent decision by New York Judge Arthur F. Engoron declared Trump’s business guilty of fraud on September 26. The Judge ruled that Trump senior had committed fraud for several years while building his real estate empire. As a result, the companies that control the crown jewels of Trump’s real estate empire, including Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, were stripped away from him. The judgment also led to the revocation of Trump’s business licenses and an attempt to dissolve his businesses. After the ruling, Trump, along with his sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., expressed their outrage on social media. They labeled the ruling as “politically motivated” and criticized both the Judge and the state’s attorney general in multiple posts.
The New York Appellate Division has paused the enforcement of a September order by Justice Arthur Engoron. However, Trump’s bid to put on hold a trial that started last week has been rejected by the appeals court. Since the Judge already found Trump guilty of fraud, the trial is to determine what penalties Trump, his two adult sons, and 10 of Trump’s companies will have to pay for allegedly inflating their net worth in order to secure more favorable loan terms.
Trump has been vocal about his disapproval of the trial, labeling it as a “sham” and suggesting that Judge Engoron should be disbarred.
During his conversation with “Ingraham Angle” guest host Kayleigh McEnany, Turley highlighted the potential consequences for the employees of Trump’s businesses. He stated, “Those employees don’t really have a representative in court for their interest.” He further pointed out the evidence of asset overvaluation and undervaluation as a common issue in the real estate sector.
Turley questioned the aggressive approach, saying that the Trump organization is one of the largest corporations in New York; it employs many people and has iconic properties. He added, “It seems like the attorney general is hell-bent on dissolving this corporation.”
Turley also brought attention to the fact that Trump’s businesses aren’t the only ones James has targeted. He mentioned, “She did the same with the NRA.” James had previously attempted to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA) in August 2020, alleging financial misconduct by its top officers, including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. According to Truley, she insisted that the leading Second Amendment organization in the country should simply be dissolved. Truley added that it “thrills many in New York.”
During her 2018 attorney general campaign, she referred to the NRA as a “terrorist organization” and expressed her intent to “destroy” the group. However, a state court judge prevented the dissolution of the NRA in March 2022.
Turley urged for a more measured approach, stating, “If the undervalued and overvalued, then there might be a penalty there, but to say that you are going to get hundreds of millions of dollars and dissolve one of the largest New York corporations, it’s pretty over the top when you look at past cases.”