By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump on Wednesday appealed a New York judge’s ruling that he and his family business fraudulently inflated the value of several properties and his net worth by as much as $2.2 billion.
The appeal to the Appellate Division, a mid-level appeals court in Manhattan, comes as a civil trial in the case brought by Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, got under way on Monday to determine the remaining claims and penalties.
James is accusing Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization of lying for a decade about asset values, in a “staggering fraud” designed to obtain better terms on bank loans and insurance.
On Sept. 26, Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan found “conclusive evidence” that Trump inflated his fortune.
The judge said Trump overvalued properties such as his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various office buildings and golf courses.
Engoron also ordered the cancellation of certificates that let some of Trump’s businesses, including the Trump Organization, operate in New York.
James is seeking at least $250 million in damages.
She also wants Trump and his sons Donald Jr and Eric banned from running businesses in New York, as well as a five-year commercial real estate ban for Trump and the Trump Organization.
Trump is seeking the Republican presidential nomination for 2024 and has maintained a commanding lead in the race.
Following Engoron’s decision, Trump called accusations that he committed fraud “ridiculous and untrue” and labeled the judge “DERANGED.”
Trump has also pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges in four indictments accusing him of trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election, hoarding classified materials, and covering up hush money payments to a porn star.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Daniel Wallis)