Michael Cohen, the ex-lawyer of former President Donald Trump, says his former boss could end up losing up to $1 billion for allegedly misrepresenting his business assets.
Trump, along with three of his adult children and two former Trump Organization executives, were hit on Wednesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James in a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit related to alleged financial misrepresentation.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple charges of campaign finance violations, bank fraud and tax evasion, said during an interview Thursday on MSNBC Rhythm that the former president’s true financial penalty could ultimately be four times greater than James’ “base” number.
“One of the things you talked about at the beginning is that [James is] looking for $250 million, that’s not accurate,” Cohen told host Ari Melber. “What she said was the base of $250 million. Knowing the documents as I do and knowing exactly the fraud that was going on, I see the figure between $750 million and $1 billion.”
Although James’ lawsuit did not set an upper limit on how much Trump and his co-defendants could be held liable at trial, damages were “estimated at at least” $250 million.
In addition to any financial penalties, the lawsuit seeks to remove former President Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump from their positions with the Trump Organization and permanently bar them from holding similar positions in New York. .
The Trumps would also be banned from overseeing any real estate acquisitions in New York for at least five years.
James alleges the defendants committed fraud by participating in a scheme to make false and misleading statements to regulators for profit.
The scheme allegedly involved lying about the size of the former president’s New York penthouse and misrepresenting the value of other real estate that Trump used as leverage to secure loans and other financial benefits.
Trump has denied the allegations and argued that James’ lawsuit is politically motivated.
Cohen praised James on Thursday and said he wished Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could be more like him in his ability to potentially pursue criminal charges against the former president.
“I think Tish James is fantastic,” Cohen said. “I think she’s an amazing attorney general, and an attorney general that I wish every state in this country had. In fact, I wish Alvin Bragg was a little more [like] Tish James.”
In separate criminal proceedings, co-defendant Allen Weisselberg, a former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty in August to 15 felonies and admitted to conspiring with the Trump Organization to avoid taxes on corporate profits.
Newsweek contacted Trump’s office for comment.