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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Gloria Oladipo in New York

Letitia James says she will seize Trump’s assets if he fails to pay $355m fraud fine

New York attorney general Letitia James
New York attorney general Letitia James Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

The New York state attorney general, Letitia James, said that she will seize Donald Trump’s assets if he does not pay the $355m civil fraud fine stemming from his financial fraud trial.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James said to ABC News in an interview on Tuesday evening.

James added that she would not hesitate to seize Trump’s buildings, including his 40 Wall Street skyscraper in Manhattan.

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day,” James told ABC.

Last Friday, a New York judge fined Trump, his two eldest sons, and associates $354.8m and $100m in pre-judgment interest after ruling that Trump had falsely reported his net worth to obtain more favorable loan terms. Trump, a former president and the likely Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential race, overstated his net worth by as much as $3.6bn a year, the judge, Arthur Engoron, ruled.

Trump and his legal team have denied any wrongdoing and decried the verdict as politically motivated. They have said they will appeal the ruling.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, attacked the verdict as “manifest injustice” and part of a “multi-year, politically fueled witch-hunt that was designed to ‘take down Donald Trump’”.

Trump claimed on his platform Truth Social that there were no victims in the case.

But James told ABC that she believes in the strength of her case, noting that “financial frauds are not victimless crimes”.

“He engaged in this massive amount of fraud. It wasn’t just a simple mistake, a slight oversight, the variations are wildly exaggerated, and the extent of the fraud was staggering,” James said.

The latest fine comes in addition to a $83.3m judgment against Trump for a defamation suit brought by the journalist and author E Jean Carroll.

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