After former President Donald Trump fiercely condemned New York Supreme Court First District Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling that he deceived banks and insurers, critics said the case could endanger the Empire State's status as a business capital.

Former Bush Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo said on FOX News Monday that the case could also put Trump "out of business" in the city most synonymous with his real estate empire.

Engoron, a Democrat, ruled prior to Monday's court date that Trump overvalued assets and exaggerated his net worth, in response to a civil suit by New York Democratic Attorney General Letitia James. 

Yoo noted that people like Engoron and James, whose roles are established to be more legal than political, are elected partisan offices, and Engoron's district – which comprises Manhattan – houses mostly Democrats.


Trump Tower exterior

Trump Tower (Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"But what people should ask is are what they're doing in the best interests of the people of the state? Is it a good idea for the state of New York, on behalf of its people, to use its vast law enforcement powers to go after and single out President Trump for things where nobody is claiming they were harmed? No one claims they were actually defrauded," Yoo said on "America Reports," adding that no banks appear to claim damages against the former president.

James notably pledged during her campaign for attorney general to be a "real pain in the a--" to then-President Trump, who she publicly declared an "illegitimate" officeholder.

Trump referenced James' routine jabs during his critique of Engoron, and Yoo warned that the attorney general may be unintentionally sending a strong warning to businesses and financial institutions on behalf of her state in a similar regard.

"New York City is the greatest financial center in the country, if not the world," he said. "Are they now going to start using their vast powers to say, 'We're happy to have you come to New York as long as you're a Democrat to do business? But if you're a conservative, we're going to use the powers of law enforcement against you'?"


"That may undermine the position of New York – the city and the state – as a nation's great financial capital place to do business."

During the court break, Trump claimed experts in Florida – where Mar-a-Lago, which was ruled misvalued, is located – have accused the judge of not properly understanding real estate law. Trump argued the judge should be booted from the bench and his case mooted.

While the Trump Organization has hotels, clubs and lodgings in other states like Hawaii, Virginia, Illinois and abroad in Ireland and Scotland, Yoo also told FOX News one potential outcome of the case is that the former president may not be able to maintain holdings in the state where the former president's name is most associated.

Yoo noted Trump borrowed money against properties alleged to be under- or over-valued, but repaid the loans, which helps the former president's argument that no one was harmed and that he is the subject of a political prosecution.


While Trump cannot end up in prison if he loses the civil case, he can however be subjected to a legally-enforceable order affecting his company's ability to operate in its home base.

"This is a civil case where all ... the state's trying to do is get money back, and is trying, maybe, to get an order putting the Trump Organization out of business in the state of New York.," Yoo said.

During the first day of the non-jury trial, James attorney Kevin Wallace said Trump "lied year after year," while also citing pretrial testimony from Michael Cohen – Trump's fixer-turned-foe who spend time in an Otisville, N.Y. prison for tax evasion among other offenses.

Still, Trump changed his tune on Judge Engoron by the end of the first day of proceedings. Trump left the New York courtroom praising Engoron for what he called an "outstanding" last five minutes that, according to Trump, fell in his favor.

"That last five minutes was outstanding because the judge essentially conceded that they statute of limitations that we won at the court of appeals is in effect. Therefore, about 80% of the case is over," Trump told reporters after exiting the court. 

It wasn't immediately clear what Engoron's statement entailed, but one of Trump's lawyers said the statement appeared to mean the judge was "agreeing that all the transactions enclosed prior to 2014 are now out of the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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