Trump Request to Halt New York Fraud Trial Rejected by Appeal Court – The New York fraud trial involving Donald Trump will proceed next week, as an appeals court has dismissed the former president’s recent attempt to stop the proceedings. Trump’s legal team had requested a delay pending an appeal related to a pre-trial ruling. The trial commenced on Monday.
In a previous ruling by New York judge Arthur Engoron, Trump and individuals associated with the Trump Organization were found guilty of financial fraud. Engoron also issued an order to dissolve Trump’s companies in the state, effectively putting an end to his real estate business operations. The New York attorney general, Letitia James, has filed a lawsuit against Trump, alleging that he fabricated inaccurate and deceptive financial statements in order to negotiate business transactions.
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In their request to halt the trial, Trump’s lawyers had said the dissolution would “unquestionably inflict severe and irreparable harm not only to [Trump and other defendants] but to innocent nonparties and employees who depend on the affected entities for their livelihoods.” Cancelling the businesses licenses “without trial and without reason renders impossible the lawful operation” of the business, according to their request, which claimed that Engoron “clearly does not comprehend the scope of the chaos [his] decision has wrought.”
The appellate court showed some sympathy for this argument. On Friday, it temporarily halted Judge Engoron’s order, which required a list of Trump’s businesses in the state, all facing dissolution under his ruling. These dissolutions will take effect if the appellate court, which has not yet ruled on Trump’s appeal, upholds Judge Engoron’s decision.
Trump’s lawyer filed an appeal against the ruling from September 26, which significantly shifted the trial’s focus towards determining potential fines for Trump’s alleged fraud, possibly amounting to at least $250 million. This trial is without a jury and falls under civil law, meaning that Trump would not face imprisonment if found guilty. This represents the most recent attempt by Trump’s legal team to halt the trial.
On September 28, an appellate court rejected a request to dismiss the entire trial, allowing it to commence on October 2. Trump had also initiated a lawsuit against Judge Engoron, which he ultimately withdrew on Thursday. The attorney general’s office, led by Letitia James, expressed readiness to discuss delaying the enforcement of Judge Engoron’s ruling until after the trial, pending a decision on the six remaining claims in their lawsuit against Trump and other defendants.
However, this offer was contingent on the trial proceeding as scheduled, as outlined in a letter from senior assistant solicitor general Dennis Fan to the appellate court. Fan argued against “upending an ongoing trial midstream”, noting the extensive court planning and security resources expended for Trump to attend the first three days of testimony, special arrangements for press and public access, and the impact that a delay would have on witnesses who have cleared their schedules to testify.
“The defendants can continue to try to delay and stall, but the evidence is clear, and our case is strong. We are confident justice will prevail,” James said. During the initial five days of the trial, prosecutors have been attempting to establish Trump and his inner circle’s accountability through witness testimonies. Two of Trump’s accountants affirmed that the responsibility for providing them with accurate information rested with Trump and his company.
In addition, Jeffrey McConney, a former Trump Organization executive who is also a defendant in the case, has given his testimony. McConney acknowledged the existence of “brand premiums” that the company associated with the value of its properties. He also confirmed that the company had factored in the valuations of seven unbuilt mansions, each estimated to be worth $23 million, in its assessments for Trump’s Westchester county estate.