Former President Trump speaks at a ‘Save America’ rally on Oct. 22 in Robstown, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
A judge on Thursday sided with New York Attorney General Letitia James in her bid for an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s preparation of financial statements amid pending review of a civil lawsuit.
Driving the news: “This court will appoint an independent monitor, to be paid by defendants, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this order,” New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron wrote in the court filing.
- “If the monitor reasonably determines that defendants have violated this order, the monitor shall immediately report that matter to [Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York], defendants, and this Court.”
- The order also prevents the Trump Organization from selling or transferring any non-cash assets without giving the court and James’ office 14 days notice.
- Engoron has overseen previous legal battles between the former president and James, Politico notes.
What they’re saying: “Time and time again, the courts have ruled that Donald Trump cannot evade the law for personal gain,” James said in a statement.
- “Today’s decision will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue the extensive fraud that we uncovered and will require the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance at the Trump Organization.”
Trump in a statement Thursday on Truth Social criticized the ruling, saying, “Businesses will be fleeing New York, which they already are, for other states and other countries.”
The big picture: James, Democrat, last month urged a judge to block Trump from moving his business assets to a new holding company amid review of a civil lawsuit accusing Trump and members of his family of financial fraud.
- James, a Democrat, in September filed the suit alleging that the former president “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars,” and referred them to federal prosecutors and the IRS for criminal investigation.
- The attorney general’s office in October had sought an independent party to monitor “any new financial disclosures made to banks and insurers to ensure they are not fraudulent” from Trump and the organization, she wrote on Twitter at the time.
- Trump has denied the allegations, calling them a “witch hunt.”
Between the lines: Trump on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Florida against James, alleging she’s abused her position and embarked on a “war of intimidation and harassment” against him.
- Trump in the 41-page lawsuit sought to prevent the attorney general from securing records from a trust that holds ownership of the Trump Organization.
- A spokesperson from the New York attorney general’s office noted in statement that Trump’s two previous attempts to stop its investigation efforts were rejected.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.