Trump fraud lawsuit goes to judge who found him in contempt

The New York attorney general’s lawsuit accusing Donald Trump and his company of fraud has been assigned to a state court judge who repeatedly ruled against the former president in related subpoena disputes, including holding him in contempt, fining him $110,000 and force him to sit down. for a deposition.

Trump’s lawyers oppose the continued involvement of Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron and accused Attorney General Letitia James’s office of attempting to “compromise with the judges” because, in paperwork seeking a judge’s appointment, it noted the Engoron’s knowledge of the case and linked the lawsuit and the subpoena disputes. as “related” issues.

In a letter Thursday to the court’s administrative judge, Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, argued that the lawsuit should be assigned to the court’s Commercial Division, which is set up to handle complex corporate litigation.

James’ office, which filed the lawsuit last week, seeks to bring the case to trial late next year, before the first primaries of the 2024 presidential election. In a response, he said the case should remain with Engoron in partly due to the “level of familiarity” he has developed in handling the problems of discovery and citation in the underlying research.

“Given the fact that this action involves allegations of an ongoing scheme and conspiracy to obtain millions of dollars through fraudulent activity, and that the defendants have repeatedly sought to delay the conclusion of (the James investigation), It is imperative that this case proceed quickly.” Wallace wrote.

A court spokesman said Engoron had no comment.

James’ lawsuit alleges that Trump and the Trump Organization inflated his net worth by billions of dollars and misled banks and others for years about the value of prized assets like golf courses, hotels and his Mar-a-Lago property. . She is seeking $250 million and a permanent ban on Trump doing business in the state.

Trump’s three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives. An attorney for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump sent a letter Thursday to the administrative law judge echoing Habba’s call to move the case to the court’s Commercial Division.

Engoron, a Democrat, has been involved in Trump-related cases since 2020, when he was assigned to intervene in disputes between Trump’s attorneys and James’s office over demands for evidence and the direction of his investigation.

Trump, a Republican who has been laying the groundwork for a potential run for the presidency, claimed bias after several of Engoron’s rulings went against him, saying in a statement: “I cannot get a fair hearing on New York because of the hatred towards me.” by judges and the judiciary. It’s not possible”.

In February, Engoron enforced a subpoena for Trump and two of his children, Ivanka and Donald Jr., to testify under oath. They testified in August after a state appeals court rejected attempts to overturn the ruling. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.

In April, Engoron held the former president in contempt of court and fined him for being slow to respond to a subpoena requiring him to turn over certain documents. Engoron lifted the contempt ruling in June after Trump paid the $110,000 fine and complied with other demands.

Engoron also issued rulings ordering the Trump Organization and its adjuster, Cushman & Wakefield, to turn over evidence, and requiring another son, Eric Trump, to testify in a deposition.

Trump denounced James’ lawsuit as “another witch hunt” and noted that his company’s financial disclosures warned banks not to trust the information provided.

Habba called the allegations in the lawsuit “meritless.”

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