Letitia James says she's prepared to seize Trump's buildings if he can't pay his $354M civil fraud fine

The New York attorney general made the remarks in an interview with ABC News.

February 20, 2024, 4:50 PM

Four days after a judge ordered former President Donald Trump to pay $354 million in his civil fraud case, New York Attorney General Letitia James told ABC News that she is prepared to seize the former president's assets if he is unable to find the cash to cover the fine.

"If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets," James said in an interview with ABC News' Aaron Katersky.

Trump was fined $354.8 million plus approximately $100 million in pre-judgment interest on Friday after Judge Arthur Engoron determined that he inflated his net worth in order get more favorable loan terms.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing and has said he will appeal.

Saying that she was "very confident" with the strength of her case on appeal, James reiterated that her office would not hesitate to seize Trump's assets -- mentioning Trump's 40 Wall Street skyscraper by name -- if the former president is unable to find the cash to cover the court-ordered disgorgement.

"We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day," James said of the standard court process for collecting judgments in civil cases.

James directly countered Trump's allegation that the case lacked any victims, instead describing her case as vital to ensuring financial markets treat New Yorkers fairly.

Attorney General Letitia James arrives for a press conference following a verdict against former President Donald Trump in a civil fraud trial on Feb. 16, 2024 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images, FILE

"Financial frauds are not victimless crimes. He engaged in this massive amount of fraud. It wasn't just a simple mistake, a slight oversight, the variations are wildly exaggerated, and the extent of the fraud was staggering," James said. "If average New Yorkers went into a bank and submitted false documents, the government would throw the book at them, and the same should be true for former presidents."

James also rebuffed Trump's allegation that the case will prompt a mass exodus of business activity from New York.

"Last I checked tourism is up. Wall Street is doing just fine," James said.

With Trump losing two civil cases against columnist E. Jean Carroll, facing Georgia election interference charges from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, and now losing his case against James, the New York AG concluded the interview with an observation about Trump's legal cases.

"Someone once told me if you want something done, give it to a woman," James said.

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