New York Attorney General Letitia James has intensified her legal battle against former President Donald Trump, seeking a lifetime ban on him conducting business in New York.
In a recent development, James’ assistant, Colleen Faherty, submitted a letter to New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, overseeing Trump’s civil fraud trial, citing a new legal precedent to bolster their case.
Shkreli case cited as benchmark in recent legal debate by Ms. James
The letter highlighted a recent appellate decision involving Martin Shkreli, who was banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry.
This case, where Shkreli faced penalties for monopolistic practices in drug pricing, is now being used as a reference point by Ms. James.
“In its appellate review, the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed in full the district court’s order enjoining Martin Shkreli from participation in the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordering him to disgorge $64.6 million,” Ms. Faherty wrote.
Comprehensive penalties sought against Trump
Attorney General James, a Democrat, advocates for severe penalties against President Trump, including a staggering $370 million in disgorgements and a permanent business ban in New York.
President Trump has dismissed the case as a “political witch hunt.”
Justice Engoron’s prior rulings and upcoming judgment
Justice Engoron has already found Trump and his company liable for fraud, with further claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records being deliberated.
The defense is expected to appeal any unfavorable ruling, noting Engoron’s summary judgment before hearing their full arguments.
Trial focuses on financial practices and testimonies
The trial has scrutinized various financial documents and expert testimonies.
A Deutsche Bank executive, David Williams, testified, supporting Trump’s defense by stating differences in asset valuations between a client and the bank are common and not necessarily disqualifying for loan considerations.
Deutsche Bank had provided substantial loans to Trump for several high-profile properties.
Trump’s trial defense: Banks benefited, financials accurate
In the trial, President Trump and his sons testified that no bank suffered due to their asset valuations, highlighting that lenders profited from the interest on loans extended.
During closing arguments, President Trump described his financial statements as “perfect,” claiming the banks were satisfied and “got all their money back.”
Trump’s attorneys argued that AG James is misusing a consumer fraud statute to target standard loan transactions.
Political motivations and business impacts alleged
Before the trial, Justice Engoron ordered the cancellation of Trump’s business certificates, temporarily halted by an appeals court.
President Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing, framing the case as a political attack to derail his potential 2024 presidential run.
He also warned that a loss in the case could negatively impact the business climate in New York City.
Rob Samuelson is a writer who splits his time between Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina. He writes the Punk Rock Mister Rogers Substack blog.