Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have put his October 3 bank fraud trial on hold pending appellate review. An appellate judge agreed to hear an emergency request filed by Trump’s attorneys during a surprised closed-door hearing on Thursday. A five-member panel could render a major decision in the case that could destroy Trump’s real estate empire.
The decision comes amid Trump’s lawsuit against Justice Arthur Engoron, the New York judge overseeing the case. Trump’s lawyers accuse Engoron of defying a court order that would reduce the scope of the case. An appellate court ruled in June that the statute of limitations on some of the transactions being questioned by the attorney general had run out. It also ordered Engoron to “determine, if necessary, the full range of defendants bound by the tolling agreement.” Ivanka Trump also was dismissed as a defendant in the case.
Trump’s attorneys in the multitude of criminal and civil cases against him have turned to delaying tactics to push off the trial dates. They also have striven to have judges removed from hearing their clients’ cases.
Trump Lawyers: Trial Judge Cannot Ignore Higher Court Order
They noted in a September 5 filing that “the Court [is] in an extraordinarily untenable position and [has] impeded the ability of the Defendants to prepare adequately for trial” and that the “Court and the Defendants are entitled to know the issues to be tried by the NYAG before the trial commences.”
“There is simply no dispute that: (i) seven of the ten transactions involving lending were completed before July 13, 2014; (ii) one of the transactions involving lending was never consummated; and (iii) the two remaining transactions involving lending were completed before the cutoff date for timely claims against those Defendants not subject to the Tolling Agreement, i.e., February 6, 2016,” the lawyers wrote. “Thus, the First Department limited substantially both the number of claims to be adjudicated at trial and the number of parties and counsel required to prepare for and participate in such trial.”
Engoron has thus far not ruled on the statute of limitations and the parameters of the case. They claim that Engoron cannot hear the case without resolving these issues. As in other cases against Trump, the judge dismissed his lawyers’ petition saying it was “completely without merit.”
Trump’s legal team argues that Engoron has overstepped his authority. They contend that Engoron’s statement that their objection lacked merit “demonstrates he has no intent to do so and deems the notion that he is bound by this court’s mandate to be ‘completely without merit.’”
Appellate Justice David Friedman’s issued and emergency decision to grant a stay and refer the case to the five-member panel.
Hearing on Court Motions Before Engoron Moving Forward
A summary-judgement hearing before Engoron scheduled for September 22 remains unchanged.
Trump’s attorneys want Engoron to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations argument. Should Engoron rule in Trump’s favor it could have a substantial impact on the case pending in front of the appeals court.
Attorney General Letitia James wants a ruling declaring that the Trump Organization’s financial statements were fraudulent. James ran for office in 2018 vowing to get Trump. She claims that Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion to get loans and insurance.
“We are confident in our case and will be ready for trial,” James said.
James hopes to obtain a $250 million fine.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.