Appellate Judge Hits Pause on Trump’s NY Fraud Trial

Donald Trump | Image by Potashev Aleksandr

Former President Donald Trump’s fraud trial in New York will be temporarily postponed following a filing of a new lawsuit that alleges the trial judge has repeatedly abused his power.

The trial, which was set to begin on October 2, centers around allegations that Trump’s business defrauded banks. The new lawsuit by the president asked a state appellate judge to issue an “Article 78 special proceeding” against New York District Justice Arthur Engoron, which, if granted, would effectively end the trial, according to the Daily Beast.

Trump’s filing points to an order from earlier this summer issued by a state appellate court that required Engoron to narrow down which real estate deals could be addressed in the trial based on the statute of limitations. The judge has yet to release the revised list.

“Although he has yet to perform his lawful duty, Justice Engoron plans to proceed with the trial of the Attorney General’s claims on October 2, 2023 — just nineteen days from the date of this petition,” wrote Trump’s lawyers, Clifford S. Robert and Michael Madaio, in Thursday’s filing, per the Daily Beast.

Additionally, Trump’s lawyers pointed to Engoron’s denial of a requested three-week delay due to the defense not knowing the full scope of the trial. Engoron wrote, “Defendants’ arguments are completely without merit.”

Appellate Justice David Friedman paused the trial on Thursday so that the appellate court could consider the allegations made against Engoron, as reported by The New York Times.

The case will move to a full panel of appellate judges that plans to have a decision by the week of September 25, per the NYT.

Friedman also determined that other proceedings should continue as planned until the full panel comes to a decision, beginning with oral arguments being presented by both sides on September 22.

The lawsuit against Trump, brought forth by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that Trump and his business defrauded banks and raised his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion by falsifying the value of his assets in financial statements, according to the Associated Press.

Trump has defended himself by claiming that the statements all contained a disclaimer that the figures were not trustworthy, telling James in April, “You don’t have a case and you should drop this case.”

“Do you know the banks were fully paid? Do you know the banks made a lot of money?” Trump said, per the AP. 

“Do you know I don’t believe I ever got even a default notice, and even during COVID, the banks were all paid? And yet you’re suing on behalf of banks, I guess. It’s crazy. The whole case is crazy,” he said.

Despite the past claims from Trump, James released a statement, saying, “We are confident in our case and will be ready for trial.”

Prosecutors in the case are seeking to impose $250 million in penalties while removing the company’s business license and barring Trump from doing business in New York, according to The Daily Beast.

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