- A Manhattan judge on Friday denied Trump’s latest attempt to avoid NY fraud charges.
- The judge criticized Trump’s “frivolous” arguments and blasted Ivanka Trump for claiming ignorance in a deposition.
- Letitia James’ $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump and his business remains on track for a trial on October 2, 2023.
A Manhattan judge on Friday delivered his latest blow to Donald Trump, rejecting what he called the former president’s “borderline frivolous” request to dismiss New York’s $250 million fraud lawsuit that seeks to drive his business empire out of state.
In a nine-page decision, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron kept Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit on track for an early October trial.
He stopped short of sanctioning Trump’s lawyers, whom he had threatened earlier this week, for delivering what he called repeated rejected legal arguments — including the allegation that James’ three-year investigation into his business and the resulting lawsuit is a “witch hunt.” ”
Already in her 2018 campaign for attorney general, James, a Democrat, had made it clear she disagreed with the then-president’s policies and had vowed to investigate and pursue fraud allegations against his Manhattan-headquartered golf resort and real estate company, the Trump Organization.
Trump’s latest “witch hunt” argument — raised as part of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit — is invalid, Engoron wrote Friday, because it has already failed in his court, in a state appeals court and before a federal judge last year. as the former president brought it up again and again to fight the Attorney General’s investigative subpoenas.
In denying the motion to dismiss, Engoron dismissed Trump’s similarly repeatedly dismissed claims that James lacks legal standing or capacity to sue him and that the attorney general’s claims are too old to pursue.
“Reading these arguments was, to quote baseball sage Lawrence Peter (“Yogi”) Berra, ‘Deja vu all over again,'” the judge wrote.
The judge also rejected as “entirely persuasive” Trump’s argument that disclaimers attached to the allegedly fraudulent financial statements sent to potential lenders — essentially warning them not to rely on his math — exonerate the former president from fraud.
In the end, the judge took a shot at Ivanka Trump, who has served as vice president of the Trump Organization and is named by James as a defendant, as are her brothers Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., both current vice presidents with their father. company.
In rejecting Ivanka Trump’s separately filed request to dismiss the lawsuit, Engoron suggested she had been less than truthful in last year’s court-mandated questioning of James’ legal staff.
Ivanka Trump had argued that she should be removed from the lawsuit because she had stopped working for her father’s business in 2017 and was not accused of personally falsifying or knowing about the falsification of any of the company’s business documents.
The attorney general’s evidence links Ivanka Trump to years of interactions with her father’s longtime favorite lender, Deutsche Bank, Engoron countered in his decision. These interactions include overseeing the financing and subsequent loan compliance for the Trump National Doral golf course in Miami and the Old Post Office in Washington, DC.
“The series establishes that Mrs. Trump participated far more in securing the loans than just passively receiving emails,” Engoron wrote.
“In her deposition, Mrs. Trump testified that she does not understand statements of financial condition and that she does not even know if they will include all assets and liabilities,” the judge wrote.
“This is despite her communication with Deutsche Bank about SFCs,” he wrote.
Ivanka Trump further argued that she could not be held legally liable in the Attorney General’s lawsuit, but that is not the case either, Engoron wrote.
“The record shows that Mrs. Trump received over $10 million in profits from the sale of the old post office,” the judge wrote.
If the request for proposals for the old post office was based on fraudulent statements about Trump’s worth, as the attorney general alleges, the lawsuit could cause her to lose some of the profits, he wrote.
“Once again, Donald Trump’s attempt to evade the law has been rejected,” James said in a statement.
“We sued Mr. Trump because we found that he engaged in years of extensive financial fraud to enrich himself and cheat the system. Today’s decision makes it clear that Donald Trump is not above the law and must answer for his actions in court .”
“We look forward to receiving a full and proper review of our arguments on appeal,” said Trump lawyer Alina Habba. Another Trump family member did not immediately respond to a request for comment.