Appeals court won’t delay Donald Trump civil fraud trial

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a 2024 presidential campaign rally in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S., on September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo Get license rights

NEW YORK, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump has refused to delay a planned Oct. 2 civil fraud trial.

In a brief order, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division, an intermediate appeals court in Manhattan, denied Trump’s request to postpone the hearing.

It also lifted a Sept. 14 order by Judge David Friedman to stay the hearing while it considered Trump’s petition. Friedman was part of the Jupiter team.

The panel’s ruling comes two days after state court Judge Arthur Engoren found that Trump and his family business persistently and fraudulently inflated his assets and net worth in order to get better terms on loans and insurance.

Trump was sued in September 2022 by state Attorney General Letitia James, alleging “shocking fraud” in how she, her adult sons, the Trump Organization and others valued their assets.

James is seeking at least a $250 million fine, a ban on Trump and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric from operating businesses in New York and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.

Attorneys for Trump and the other defendants were not immediately available for comment. James’ office had no immediate comment.

The case is unrelated to the four criminal charges Trump faces, including trying to sway the 2020 presidential election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of them, and the charges against him are part of a politically motivated, Democratic witch hunt as he seeks to return to the White House. James is a Democrat.

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Despite his legal troubles, Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

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Trump sued Engron on Sept. 14, seeking to delay the trial and accusing him of ignoring a June ruling by an appeals court that, according to Trump, should have thrown out James’ case because many of his claims were too old.

Engoron’s decision on Tuesday showed he believed the appeals court decision had little impact on James’ case.

The judge said the defendants were “living in a fantasy world, not the real world” because they created appraisals for properties including Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida and a Trump Tower penthouse in Manhattan.

Engron found “conclusive evidence” that Trump had overstated his wealth by $2.2 billion.

He also ordered the revocation of certificates allowing some of Trump’s businesses to operate.

That could force Trump to take control of properties including Manhattan’s Trump Tower, a Wall Street office building, golf courses and his family estate in suburban Westchester County, New York.

On Wednesday night, the attorney general’s office and defense attorneys released a list of witnesses, possibly more than 100, who may be called to testify.

Donald Trump and his adult sons are on both lists, as are former Trump Organization chief financial officer Alan Weiselberg and comptroller Jeffrey McConey.

The attorney general’s list includes Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who turned against his former boss, and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who was dismissed as a defendant by an appeals court in June.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Nolene Walter and Bill Bergrod

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