Cohen says judge’s ruling puts Trump out of business in New York

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen said a business fraud ruling against former President Trump is likely to put him out of business and could push him into bankruptcy.

“The damages, in my estimation, with interest and penalty, will exceed $600 million,” Cohen said in a CNN interview Tuesday. “Will that put him into bankruptcy? He does not have the liquid cash in order to pay that off.”

A judge ruled Tuesday that Trump and his sons committed fraud by inflating and deflating the value of their assets to mislead banks and insurance companies. New York prosecutors are seeking at least $250 million in damages and to prevent the family from running businesses in the state.

Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney before he became president. Cohen has since turned on Trump, serving as a key witness in investigations against him, including remarks to Congress in 2019 that sparked the New York fraud case.

A trial to determine damages in the case is set to begin Monday. Trump said he will appeal the judge’s ruling.

Cohen said that damages trial is likely to be the end of Trump’s businesses, as losing business licenses means that the operations have to shut down.

“As a result of the receivership, those companies will end up being liquidated, especially now that this case is no longer solely about… liability. The judge has already determined that the fraud existed,” Cohen said.

He also said the suit going after Trump’s business empire is the most effective way to legally attack the former president.

“If you want to get to Donald, the way to do it is through his bank book,” he said. “It’s not by saying he’s a narcissistic sociopath or that he’s definitely not 6’3” and he’s not 215 pounds, you go after the wallet.” “Once you start hitting that bank book, that’s what really gets to him.”

“The one think Donald Trump is so good at is delaying the inevitable,” Cohen added. “Donald is incapable of fault.”

Trump has derided the ruling, attacking both New York Attorney General Letitia James and the judge in the case. In lengthy statements Tuesday, Trump claimed that the judge did not account for the value of his personal brand in assessments of his worth. 

Cohen argued that argument holds little merit.

“When it comes to the value of the brand, sure there’s a value of the brand. What’s the value of the brand now? Obviously significantly less,” Cohen said. “But if you’re talking about the asset, what does the brand value have to do with over-inflating the square footage of your primary residence by triple on Fifth Avenue to 33,000 square feet when the unit is actually 11,000 square feet.” 

“What does the brand value have to do with claiming it’s worth $15,000 a square foot or whatever he put down onto it, when in fact nothing in the entire area, that building for sure, even approached a price per square foot even in that stratosphere,” he continued.

The former president faces other legal trouble, including 91 criminal counts in four separate state and federal cases. Trials for all four cases could take place in 2024.

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