A New York judge on Tuesday found Donald Trump and two of his children, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, liable for lies and “repeated” financial “frauds” in the 2010s by inflating the assets of the Trump Organization, a scathing ruling even before the civil trial in this case opened on Monday. This decision represents a major setback in this matter for the former American president, who dreams of reconquering the White House in November 2024 and taking revenge on his successor Joe Biden.

On the other hand, it facilitates the task of the Attorney General of the State of New York, Letitia James, who had filed a complaint against Donald Trump. She is seeking $250 million in fines and bans from running companies for Donald Trump and several of his close associates, including his two children who now run the Trump Organization.

The civil trial which is to begin on Monday is only the first in a long list for the former president, who will also have to appear in federal justice, accused of having tried to reverse the result of the presidential election of 2020, or before the courts of the State of Georgia for having also tried to manipulate the results of the vote lost to Joe Biden.

Letitia James, equivalent of a Minister of Justice for the state and elected Democrat, had requested a civil trial against the Republican billionaire, accusing him of having inflated the value of the assets of the Trump Organization, to the tune of several billion dollars, in particular to obtain more advantageous loans from banks from 2011 to 2021.

The Trump Organization brings together a myriad of companies and ranges from residential real estate, with several skyscrapers in New York, to luxury hotels, residences or private clubs like Mar-a-Lago in Florida and golf clubs. In March 2023, Forbes magazine estimated Donald Trump’s fortune at $2.5 billion.

In her complaint, the Attorney General cites several examples, including Donald Trump’s triplex inside the Trump Tower in New York, the value of which was allegedly declared on the basis of a surface area three times greater than reality ( 2,700 square meters versus 1,000), which would have valued it at $327 million.

“Good faith measures could vary by 10-20%, not 200%,” writes Judge Arthur Engoron. For the magistrate, a “discrepancy of this order of magnitude, on the part of a real estate developer increasing its own residential surface area for decades, can only be considered fraud”.

The judge lists other examples, such as the Seven Springs property in the New York area, the Trump Park Avenue or 40 Wall Street buildings in New York or even golf courses and the Mar-a-Lago residence.

Particularly scathing, the magistrate writes in his 35-page decision that the Trump camp’s defense arguments come from a “fantasy world, not the real world.” For Judge Engoron, Donald Trump and his two children are “responsible” for “repeated violations” of the law.

On his social network Truth Social, the former American president reaffirms that he has nothing to reproach himself for and describes the judge as “hateful” towards him. “I am worth much more than what the figures say in my financial statements,” he also wrote in capital letters, ensuring that the banks have never had to complain about the loans granted.