Trump Faces an October Trial in New York AG's Fraud Lawsuit
By: Laura Italiano (Business Insider)
- Trump on Tuesday withdrew his last appeal of New York's three-year probe of the Trump Organization.
- The withdrawal clears the way for an October trial in Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million fraud lawsuit.
- Trump had claimed James' probe of his real-estate business was fueled by political "animus."
Donald Trump is set to face trial in October after he dropped his last legal challenge to New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million fraud suit against his real-estate business.
The decision to drop that final challenge — a federal appeal he'd filed with the Second Circuit in Manhattan — was made Tuesday for "strategic" reasons, a lawyer for Trump said.
"This appeal was voluntarily withdrawn for strategic purposes," said the lawyer, Alina Habba.
Trump's federal appeal had sought to revive a December 2021 federal lawsuit that he'd hoped would end what he described as James' politically biased attack on the Trump Organization.
A federal judge in Albany, US District Judge Brenda Sannes, had tossed that suit in May after lawyers for the attorney general's office argued that evidence of fraud at Trump's business was overwhelming.
Tuesday's move is the latest legal retreat for Trump, who has fought for nearly three years to stop James' efforts against the Trump Organization through a series of lawsuits and appeals filed in civil and federal courts in New York and Florida.
All of Trump's attempts to stop James have now been rejected by judges or abandoned by Trump himself.
The appeal Trump dropped on Tuesday was the only action remaining that could have delayed or halted James' four-month-old lawsuit alleging Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars over 10 years.
On Friday, Trump dropped another November lawsuit against James that was filed in Florida and sought to dismiss her suit.
Trump gave no reason for that withdrawal. But it came one day after the same Florida judge fined Trump $1 million over his "frivolous" lawsuit alleging that Hillary Clinton and some 30 other Democrats had conspired against him.
The lawsuits Trump filed against Clinton and James "had all the telltale signs of being both vexatious and frivolous," US District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks warned Trump on Thursday.
"I am pleased that Donald Trump has withdrawn both of his pending actions against my office," James said Tuesday.
"As we have shown all along, we have a legitimate legal case against him and his organization, and we cannot be bullied or dissuaded from pursuing it."
A decade of lying about his worth saved Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in his dealings with lenders, insurance firms, and tax authorities, James alleges in her lawsuit, which names Trump, his business, and his three eldest children as defendants.
The Manhattan DA had separately tried the Trump Organization criminally, and a Manhattan jury found the company guilty of a payroll tax-fraud scheme in December.
James' office is seeking steep financial penalties and to permanently ban Trump and his three oldest children from doing business in New York, where the Trump Organization is headquartered and where the bulk of its assets are kept.
Trump has a Thursday deadline to file an answer to James' lawsuit. Trump's appeal of a $110,000 contempt fine set by the judge presiding over the lawsuit in May is still pending but would not delay an October trial.