Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen predicted on Sunday that a New York judge’s ruling that the ex-president committed business fraud will be a “death blow” to his businesses.
Judge Arthur Engoron ruled against Trump on Tuesday in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million lawsuit alleging that he and his sons fraudulently inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to obtain benefits such as better bank loans and reduced tax bills between 2011 and 2021. Trump, who is running in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has maintained his innocence in the case, and his legal team has said they plan to appeal the judge’s decision.
The ruling, referred to some legal experts as the “corporate death penalty,” saw Engoron order the cancellation of business licenses for The Trump Organization and several other New York entities associated with the former president, greatly limiting their ability to conduct business in the state, home to the largest financial hub in the country. Engoron called for the naming of receivers who would oversee any dissolution, but did not call for the businesses to be dissolved in the order.
Cohen, who for years served as Trump’s personal attorney, but flipped on him after pleading guilty in 2018 to tax charges while working for the former president, explained how the ruling could be a “financial catastrophe” during an appearance on MSNBC‘s Inside with Jen Psaki.
Cohen said Trump will likely lose “more than just several” of his businesses as a result of Engoron’s ruling.
“Once he loses the license within which to operate the good standing of the certificates of incorporation that make up what’s called the Trump Corporation, not only is the main company now going into the receivership, but there are hundreds of other subsidiary companies that additionally will ultimately go as part of the receivership. It is a financial catastrophe. It is the death blow to Donald,” he said Sunday.
Cohen, who has provided testimony to investigators in some of Trump’s legal cases surrounding his businesses, described the ruling as the former president’s “biggest fear.”
“During my tenure at The Trump Organization, I can tell you that this has always been his biggest fear, that he would lose all of his money, and that he would no longer be considered the mega billionaire that he tried to portray himself as,” he added.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign for comment via email.
Trump is set to head to trial on Monday in connection to the case. While Engoron has already determined that fraud occurred at Trump’s businesses, the trial will focus on whether the former president and his executives committed illegal activity.
Cohen is among the witnesses the attorney general’s office is expected to call during the trial.
Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team filed a lawsuit in April against Cohen for more than $500 million over his media appearances, accusing him of spreading false information about the former president that has allegedly been “embarrassing or detrimental” and partaking in “other misconduct in violation of New York Rules of Professional Conduct.”