MANHATTAN (CN) — The New York attorney general's $250 million fraud case against former President Donald Trump will go to trial Monday, Oct. 2, after a state appellate court on Thursday lifted a temporary stay.
Trump sought not only to delay the proceedings but to toss the entire case, arguing certain claims violated the statute of limitations.
In June, his daughter Ivanka Trump was removed as a defendant in the suit after an appellate ruling found the civil charges against her were too old.
Trump claimed on appeal that certain allegations against him in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ suit violate that June ruling.
Thursday’s decision effectively quelled that debate, though the First Department Appellate Division didn't weigh in on Trump's argument that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron should have found claims against him time-barred.
“It is ordered that the motion for a stay of trial is denied; the interim relief granted by a justice of this court entered on Sept. 14, 2023, is hereby vacated,” the panel wrote in a two-page order.
With a stay in place, the fraud trial would have likely been postponed while claims were reviewed. But Thursday’s decision quashes that chance, meaning James’ case against Trump, his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg, is set to kick off on Monday with jury selection.
Hours before the ruling, James’ office and the defendants released their witness lists to the public.
James’ list of 28 includes Michael Cohen, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump himself.
The defense's list identifies a whopping 127 witnesses, many of whom work as lenders at the financial institutions that James claims Trump defrauded.
James brought the lawsuit against the former president and his co-defendants in September 2022 after a lengthy probe into the Trump Organization’s finances, which found Trump had overvalued his personal net worth and assets by as much as $2.2 billion annually in order to receive more favorable bank loans and lower insurance premiums.
Earlier this week, Judge Engoron sided with James in a ruling that found that Trump and his co-defendants engaged in “persistent and repeated fraud,” deeming them liable for the case’s top fraud count.
Engoron found Trump had regularly inflated the value of his properties using unrealistic projections, among other tactics.
“Time and time again, the court is not comparing one appraisal to another; it is comparing an independent professional appraisal to a pie-in-the-sky dream of concocted potential,” Engoron wrote in his 35-page ruling Tuesday.
The judge even found that Trump repeatedly overestimated the size of his Manhattan apartment in Trump Tower, claiming it was three times as big as it actually was.
In response to that claim, Trump’s lawyers claimed that calculating square footage is “subjective.”
“A real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud,” Engoron wrote Tueday.
The upcoming trial will now focus on determining damages stemming from the Trump Organization’s fraud. Prosecutors will also try to prove Trump and his co-defendants committed insurance fraud and falsified business records. Trial is expected to run through Dec. 22.Follow @Uebey
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