NEW YORK, Nov 22 (Reuters) – A New York judge plans to try former U.S. President Donald Trump, his three adult children and the Trump Organization in October 2023 on fraud charges brought against them by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Real estate company assets and overestimated Trump’s net worth.
State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron in Manhattan set the trial date during a contentious hearing on Tuesday following the Trumps’ motions the night before to dismiss the civil suit.
“I’ve ruled on all these issues. It seems to me that the facts are the same. The law is the same. The parties are the same,” Engoron told Trump’s lawyer, Alina Hubba. “You can’t keep making the same argument after you’ve already lost.”
Hubba had accused the judge of bias. Trump, a Republican, has accused James, a Democrat, of suing him because he dislikes him and his politics.
In his lawsuit filed on September 21, James Trump, his company, his children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka and others accused banks and insurance companies of inflating Trump’s assets by billions of dollars over a decade. James called the scam “staggering.”
The complaint seeks $250 million in damages. It seeks to prevent the Trumps from operating businesses in the state and prohibit Trump and his company from buying New York real estate for five years.
Ngoron is expected to rule on the motions to dismiss in early January. Trump has already appealed Engron’s order requiring an independent watchdog to monitor his company.
The trial, scheduled for Oct. 2, 2023, and other legal issues could complicate Trump’s campaign for the 2024 presidency, announced last week.
The Trump Organization is now on trial in another Manhattan court on criminal tax fraud charges.
In addition, US Attorney General Merrick Garland last week named a special counsel to oversee two criminal investigations, one into the FBI’s seizure of government documents from Trump’s Florida home and another into Trump’s role in efforts to rig the 2020 presidential election.
Trump also faces a criminal investigation into whether he interfered in the 2020 election results in Georgia.
He called these cases and trials politically motivated, and labeled Engoron a “puppet judge” for James.
In seeking to dismiss the lawsuit filed by James, Trump said the attorney general lacked the authority to pursue a lawsuit designed to “get” him when there was no harm to the public or the marketplace.
“Who benefits from this highly politicized campaign? [sic]Except for the politically compromised Attorney General of New York State?” Trump’s filing said.
The other defendants also moved for dismissal.
Attorneys for Trump’s sons called the case “a textbook example of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.” Ivanka Trump’s lawyers say there are no allegations of fraud or lying to anyone.
The Trump Organization’s former longtime chief financial officer, Alan Weiselberg, and its comptroller, Jeffrey McConey, also sought to dismiss the claims against them. Both testified as prosecution witnesses in the Manhattan criminal trial, in which prosecutors alleged the company engaged in tax fraud over a 15-year period.
Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham
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