Donald Trump Real-Estate Ban Could Be Enforced Across Multiple States

Donald Trump may be banned from any American real-estate transactions if they include business in New York, a senior corporate attorney has said.

Trump, his two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as the Trump Organization, are co-defendants in the $370 million civil fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She accuses the former president of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to obtain benefits such as better bank loans and reduced tax bills. The former president denies wrongdoing. Trump has repeatedly said that the litigation was politically motivated to derail his 2024 presidential campaign, given he is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

James has asked a judge to ban Trump from the real-estate industry for life as punishment for fraudulently inflating the value of his assets. Judge Arthur Engoron is due to make a decision on that request on January 31 and decide on an overall punishment for Trump and his two adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr. Newsweek sought email comment from Trump’s attorney on Tuesday.

Paul Golden, a partner at New York law firm Coffey Modica, told Newsweek that Engoron may impose a wide interpretation of such a ban.

“Even if Hon. Engoron cannot bar the Trump defendants from engaging in the real-estate business outside New York, it is possible he could issue a judgment which indicates that, to the degree the Trump defendants’ future non-New York business could affect New Yorkers, such activity would be barred,” Golden said.

That would likely stop Trump from any real-estate transaction that required activity within New York, such as banking or seeking investors.

Donald Trump Real-Estate Ban Could Be Enforced Across Multiple States
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas on January 27, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Letitia James, the New York attorney general, has asked a judge to ban the…

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“So far, Hon. Engoron apparently has not indicated that any potential judgment would go that far. However, the eventual outcome of the trial and appeal, and the specific language which will appear in the final judgement, are anyone’s guess,” Golden added.

James is seeking a lifetime ban for Donald Trump from the real-estate industry and a five-year ban for Eric and Donald Jr.

“It is unclear at this point whether the Office is claiming that Hon. Engoran should ban the defendants from doing so only within the state of New York, or whether the Office is seeking something more expansive,” said Golden.

“One might presume that Hon. Engoron, at most, could only rule on the defendants’ rights or lack of rights within the state of New York. As a very general rule, a state judge only has jurisdiction to resolve matters that occur within that state. Notably, the letter submitted by the Assistant Attorney General does not specify that the requested ban should be nationwide,” Golden said.

He added that the Trump defendants’ response “primarily focused on the claim that there was insufficient evidence of fraud in the trial, and not about how a potential judgment would affect the Trump defendants’ rights to engage in activity outside of New York.”

Colleen Faherty, a lawyer in James’ office, submitted a letter to Engoron in Trump’s New York fraud case on January 23 requesting that he stop Trump from ever working in the real-estate industry again.

Engoron has already ruled that Trump committed fraud by exaggerating the value of his real-estate assets and must now decide the punishment.

In her letter, Faherty informed Engoron about the appeal court decision in the case of Martin Shkreli, nicknamed ‘Pharma Bro’ by the media, who has been banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry. Faherty noted that Shkreli was also fined more than $60 million.

Faherty said that New York State Executive Law 63(12)—which was used in the New York attorney general’s lawsuits against both Trump and Shkreli—gives the court the ability to “issue a permanent and plenary ban in a particular industry” and should be applied to Trump.

In September, Engoron ruled that Trump, his adult sons, their businesses and executives committed fraud in their property valuations. The court will decide on six other accusations, including falsifying business records, insurance fraud and conspiracy claims. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

The trial ended on January 11 when Engoron said he hoped to hand down a ruling by January 31.