George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley reacted to “breathtaking” demands by New York Attorney General Letitia James in her crusade to find former President Donald Trump guilty of unfairly inflating the value of his real estate portfolio.
The Daily Caller caught up with Turley while on Fox Business, telling the host that, despite Deutsche Bank holding a positive view of Trump as a “whale” client worth millions, James is attempting to fine him hundreds of millions of dollars.
“You’ve got this New York law that allows James to proceed against Trump even though no one lost any money, even though banks didn’t complain, and on that basis, she’s asking for a nuclear option,” Turley told Fox Business host Larry Kudlow. “She is basically trying to end the role of the corporation of New York, taking away certificates and imposing a quarter of a billion dollars in damages for money that was not lost.”
As evidence, AG James has pointed to financial reports submitted by the Trump real estate empire to Deutsche Bank before securing lucrative loan terms. Supreme Court 1st District Judge Arthur Engoron previously denied an attempt by President Trump to read disclaimers from those reports which stated that analysts must reach their own conclusions about the value of the assets.
“So these guys get on the stand and they said, look, you know, estimates differ. You don’t rely on those estimates,” Turley continued. “You rely on your own estimates, but they also said we made money here and then we tried to get more loans with the Trumps. They described Trump as being a whale client, someone you really want and the disconnect of that testimony with what James is seeking is really breathtaking.”
In September, Judge Engoron ruled that President Trump was guilty of fraud, but that decision was paused by an appeals court pending a full review. As part of his ruling, Engoron massively readjusted the value of properties like Mar-a-Lago, which is now worth less on paper than surrounding properties a fraction of its size.
“Look, there does appear to me to be estimation problems from the Trump side, but I can’t find any case like this,” Turley said. “Justice is about consistency and proportionality. I can’t even find a case that comes close to what James is trying to do here.”
President Trump in recent days has excoriated Engoron and his wife, who has posted a number of anti-Trump memes online, accusing them of playing to liberal audiences with frequent smirking on camera and taking time during court to admonish the former president for asking basic questions. Eric Trump has accused AG James of launching a “cruel” crusade that will decimate the livelihoods of thousands of workers in the Trump empire.