Donald J. Trump’s upcoming civil fraud trial, arising from a lawsuit filed by the New York state attorney general against the former president and his family business, could last nearly three months, according to a state judge who will preside over the proceedings.
Judge Arthur F. Engoron had already set the start date for October 2, months before the start of the 2024 presidential primaries.
However, in an order released on Friday, he said the trial could be completed on December 22.
The process could end in a shorter time. But even if it comes close to the planned duration, it will complicate Trump’s schedule as he runs for president and prepares for the four trials he also faces.
Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit accuses Trump — along with two of his adult children, his company and other defendants — of lying about the value of his homes, hotels, golf courses and other goods to obtain favorable terms in credit and other business transactions .
The lawsuit is 215 pages long and full of allegations about the methods Trump used to fraudulently inflate the value of certain properties, from his triplex apartments in Trump Tower to the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
James also said these practices increased Trump’s annual wealth by at least 17 percent to 39 percent each year – worth between $812 million and $2.2 trillion.
In a new document released Friday, she said her experts’ assessment raised the maximum amount to $3.6 trillion a year, which she considered a “conservative estimate.”
Trump’s lawyers have argued that an appeals court ruling earlier this summer reduced the lawsuit to a fraction of its original size and that many of the claims should be dismissed because they arose from business transactions that occurred before the statutory deadline.
Judge Engoron must rule on that argument – he is expected to do so later this month – although his plan for the trial to last nearly three months could be a sign that he is unlikely to significantly limit the case.