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New York Suit Against Trump Mixes Routine Business Law, Uncommon Allegations

Case centers on state law that gives the attorney general broad power to address persistent fraud in business

Donald Trump said he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer questions from the New York attorney general at a scheduled deposition in August. WSJ’s Corinne Ramey explains what to know about the investigation into the financial dealings of the former president and his business. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

The New York attorney general’s lawsuit against former President Donald Trump uses a common state business law to make allegations about property valuations, which lawyers say are rarely the focus of civil-fraud cases.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Letitia James, accuses Mr. Trump, three of his adult children, his company and two of its longtime officials of participating in a decadelong scheme to falsify financial statements for economic gain. Ms. James, a Democrat, alleges the defendants made illegitimate and misleading valuations of 23 properties and assets, from a golf club in Scotland to several properties in New York.

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