Trump still has his Boeing 757; viral video mischaracterizes impact of lawsuit

The claim: A bank has taken away Donald Trump’s plane

A Sept. 27 YouTube video is titled “Bank takes away Trump’s private airplane after company shut down,” with an on-screen narrator speaking before and after clips of newscasts and a talk show.

“He’s been forced to give up his ultimate status symbol, one of the things that made him look and feel and act like a man much richer and much more successful than he ever was in reality,” the narrator says before segments of news reports on Trump’s legal problems.

The video was watched more than 250,000 times in less than two weeks. It was also shared almost 200 times on Facebook according to CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool.

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Our rating: False

Trump has not been forced to give up his planes, including the 757 referenced in the video’s caption. The entity that owns it was not singled out in a ruling that Trump defrauded banks, and the banks are not part of the lawsuit filed by the state of New York. Even if Trump ends up needing to sell the aircraft, no assets have been sold yet.

Trump fraud trial far from resolution

Trump was sued by the state of New York for allegedly inflating the value of his assets to secure more favorable terms from lenders and on deals. On Sept. 26, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump had defrauded banks, insurance companies and others and ordered several of Trump’s business licenses in New York be rescinded.

However, no assets have been seized by the court, the state of New York or any of the banks. There are other claims in the civil suit against Trump that remain to be decided in a New York courtroom. Engoron has said that the trial likely will run into December.

And Trump immediately appealed the fraud ruling, kicking off a process that could prevent asset sales from happening for several months, if not years.

“I’d be surprised if anything happens before the election next year,” Brian Marks, executive director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program at the University of New Haven, said of the possible selling of assets as part of dissolving Trump’s businesses.

On Oct. 6, an appellate judge granted Trump’s request to temporarily block the licenses from being revoked and the businesses from being dissolved. New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office had said before the appeal that she was willing to wait on the dissolution of the businesses until the entire trial is finished, as long as the trial was not delayed.

Trump likely would appeal any further rulings against him, and those appeals could easily lead to additional orders preventing any asset sales because “there’s really no way to get them back” if Trump were to win on appeal, said Marks, who is also an attorney.

Fact check: Supposed Mitt Romney quip about Trump spending retirement in jail is satire

Beyond the trial still being underway and the appeals process freezing any asset sales, the title of the video makes a pair of faulty statements.

First, the banks Trump is accused of defrauding are not part of the $250 million lawsuit. The suit was brought by the state of New York, and Marks noted that nothing in the ruling, nor in statements by the state, indicated that proceeds from court-ordered restitution would go to any of the banks.

It would not be surprising if the state keeps the funds and financial institutions followed the current lawsuit with their own litigation if Trump loses, Marks said.

Second, TAG Air, the entity owning Trump’s aircraft, might not need to be dissolved under the ruling. Marks noted that the litigation has focused on Trump’s real estate holdings, and TAG Air is not listed as a party in the lawsuit.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Brian Marks, Oct. 6, Phone interview with USA TODAY

  • Associated Press, Sept. 26, Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks and insurers while building real estate empire

  • Insider, Sept. 14, In April, Trump said his private-jet LLC was worth no more than $1,001. Then in July, he said it was worth up to $25 million. Why?

  • Washington Post, Oct. 6, Trump gets temporary reprieve from losing control of companies in N.Y.

  • New York Attorney General, Sept. 21, 2022, Complaint

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump’s planes still belong to his company, weren’t sold | Fact check

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