Trump's family ran 'a fraud business with a sideline in real estate': Trump University investigator
NBC's The Apprentice

On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The ReidOut," Tristan Snell, the former New York official who helped investigate Trump University, broke down the severity of the civil allegations against the former president and members of his family announced by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The suit is the culmination of years of investigation into the former president's family business, which has been accused by former Trump insiders of keeping two sets of books and lying to banks, government agencies, and insurers about the value of various assets and properties.

"How significant is this, and does Trump have any defense here?" asked anchor Joy Reid. "Because this seems like he was doing this in the open for a really long time."

"It really looks like the Trump family was running a fraud business with a sideline in real estate, as opposed to the other way around," said Snell. "Like, it actually might have been, like, disparities in the valuations of their properties may have been their biggest source of paper, revenue, or assets. Like, this is insane. The disparities that we're talking about here are not just 10 percent. It's not rounding up. It's not saying, oh, you know, this is worth $147 million, we're going to say it's worth $150 million. No, no, no, no. This was 1000 percent bigger. 3,300 percent bigger. If any of us did this, we wouldn't just be liable for fraud, we'd be headed to jail. This would be the equivalent of an American saying that the appraisal says your house is worth $300,000, and then you turn around and say, oh, it's actually worth $30 million, it's actually worth $100 million, and thinking you're going to get away with that."

Even worse for Trump, argued Snell, he has effectively already admitted to the wrongdoing that James is alleging in the lawsuit.

"The question that you had about, like, you know, exactly what defense does he have here, the problem is that escape hatch is really gone because he had to plead the Fifth," said Snell. "The fact that he pled the Fifth to 440 different questions means that he doesn't really have any legs to stand on here, because anything that he might say in defense, the AG's office is going to be able to say, well, you already basically admitted to it because every time he said, 'I plead the Fifth,' substitute the words, 'I did it, it was me, I confess.'"

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Tristan Snell says Trump's family was running a "fraud business"