As Letitia James’s civil trial against former President Donald Trump wraps up, she is slammed by Trump and his attorney, Alina Habba, for her motivations. James is suing Trump for $370 million, as well as asking for him to be removed from his companies and barred from real estate in New York State due to alleged fraudulent reporting of his assets.
Fame-Hungry human being
Alina Habba recently spoke with Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures about Trump’s recent legal issues and current trials. In regard to the current civil suit brought by the New York Attorney General, Habba tells Bartiromo, “Ms. James has, in my mind, always been a bit of a fame-hungry human being that has put her politics in front of the interest of New York State.”
James alleges Trump, as well as adult members of his family, defrauded banks by representing their assets at a higher monetary value than was actually accurate, allowing them to receive loans at a more favorable rate from 2011 to 2021. Claims include a penthouse being valued as larger than it was and apartment buildings with rent-stabilized apartments being represented as if every unit could be sold at full market value.
Habba refutes the allegations: “We had experts… who were on the Nobel Executive Committee reference team tell the judge that he [Trump] did nothing wrong, that his statements actually gave too much information, and there were no victims. And Deutsche Bank said, ‘Hey, we loved working with Trump. He actually paid his loans off early in many instances…. We all made money, and he over-invested in the properties… and he was a great client.’”
No bank suits
As part of his closing remarks at the trial, Christopher Kise brought to the court’s attention that no banks were involved in the suit. “You just cannot allow the attorney general to pursue a victimless fraud and impose the corporate death penalty,” he urged while towing the party line, that this was in fact a politically motivated trial and not about fraud at all.
Kevin Wallace, an attorney with James’s office, believes the loans were critical to maintaining Trump’s business interests. The beneficial interest rates that were “secured by fraud [were] vital to the company’s operations and also for the run for president,” Wallace said, comparing their actions to “doing the rich man’s version of searching the cushions for change.”
Race for governor
During James’s run for New York state governor in 2021, she vowed to go after Trump, telling voters ‘no one is above the law.’ Trump has stated he believes this is the reason he is ‘stuck’ in New York for this trial instead of in Iowa for the Republican caucus. Habba reiterates the belief, “Imagine the lengths she is going to to personally hurt Trump because she ran a campaign on going after Trump, and she has to keep her political promise. It is so sick and sad, honestly, for New York.” James dropped out of the race within a couple of months and opted to be re-elected in her current role.
Behind it all
As in many of his ongoing trials, Trump accuses President Biden of being the puppet master behind the proceedings. He is adamant the President is ‘weaponizing’ the Department of Justice to win the 2024 election. Trump notoriously maintains the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from him, which led to the insurrectionists and protestors on January 6, 2021.
Trump has referenced visits by James to the White House as evidence she was colluding with President Biden to entangle him in legal battles during campaign season. According to an article by AP News, “James attended an Aug. 31, 2023, reception for Black women elected to office from across the country at the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris…. Over 200 people attended. On July 18, 2023, James was among attorneys general from seven states and the District of Columbia who met with Harris to discuss efforts to disrupt the illicit fentanyl supply chain. And on April 8, 2022, James attended a celebration of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation as the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.” They state no evidence James ever met with Biden.
James stands by her lawsuit on the merits of the case, denying any ulterior motives or personal agendas. “This case has never been about politics or personal vendetta or about name-calling. This case is about the facts and the law. And Mr. Donald Trump violated the law,” she told reporters after closing arguments.
Trump goes as far as blasting Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing his case, saying, “This is election interference. They made up a fake case, these fraudulent people. And the judge already knows what he’s going to do. He’s a Democrat judge. In all fairness to him, he has no choice. I know this city better than anybody who knows this city. Nobody knows it like I do. He’s a Democrat judge out of the clubhouses, he’s controlled, and it’s a shame. What’s going on here is a shame. Our whole system is corrupt. This is corrupt, Atlanta is corrupt, and what’s coming out of D.C. is corrupt.”
How is Trump handling this?
Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo looked a little further, asking Habba, “What is President Trump expecting from all of this? He’s still campaigning, and he was obviously campaigning in Iowa just over the weekend. What is he expecting in terms of all of these legal issues and how he’s going to make it to the finish line in November?” noting James is attempting to oust Trump from business in New York State, where Trump built his empire.
In regard to the trials and campaign trail, Habba says the Republican candidate for president is staying positive, often more positive than she is. They have confidence that the judge will make a decision based on the facts in evidence and not political bias.