Trump lawsuit is based on 'lots of existing evidence' collected over years: columnist

Former President Donald Trump, just weeks after the FBI raided his home at Mar-a-Lago, is now being sued in New York state over alleged massive instances of fraud and irregularities in his company. While the former president asserts that the legal battle is baseless, a new column says that the lawsuit against him is based on numerous pieces of evidence that have been collected.

The column, published in The Atlantic by staff writer David Graham, said that the claims made in the lawsuit by New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday were not unfounded, but were based on many similar allegations that have been made about the former president. "At the very least the claims accord with lots of existing evidence, uncovered by WNYC, ProPublica, and other news organizations," Graham wrote. "They match up with rumors that have swirled around Trump for years, and with the disdain with which many actual New York real-estate titans treat the Trump Organization."

"And they also fit in with what we know about Trump’s dealings in other ventures, like the fraudulent 'Trump University' or the Trump Foundation, the self-dealing so-called charity that James forced to shut down in a 2019 settlement," the column added.

As many have noted, this ploy is nothing new - the majority of Trump's alleged crimes have been committed in the public eye, with the former president using his status as a well-known businessman to his advantage. "Trump wasn’t doctoring the numbers on forms; he was just brazenly telling different things to different people and assuming that he wouldn’t get caught, and that if he did, he could settle or bluff his way through or it make it go away with a countersuit," Graham wrote. "Any prosecutor with the will and the manpower could have connected the dots on parts of this alleged fraud long ago."

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This includes allegations of extreme inflation regarding the value of his assets, such as a report that Trump valued Mar-a-Lago at nearly $800 million - despite the fact that the lawsuit placed the value of the resort closer to $75 million. The lawsuit went on to allege more than 200 instances of fraud in total. As Graham noted, if James' lawsuit is successful, she could render "a fatal blow to the Trump Organization, effectively ending its run as a family business and a going concern in New York."

He ended the column, though, by saying that "Trump will have his chance to respond. He is likely to do so with blustering brazenness and flagrant misrepresentations, and given his past record, that just might work."