onald Trump’s lawyers will try on Friday to persuade a New York judge to dismiss Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit accusing the former U.S. president, just 10 days before a scheduled trial. reject largely or completely “shocking” fraud.
In contrast, James’ lawyers will ask the same Manhattan judge to hold Trump and other defendants, including his adult sons and his family business, the Trump Organization, liable for fraud even before a jury begins hearing evidence.
The upcoming trial comes as Trump holds a dominant lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 despite facing a series of legal battles, including four criminal cases in which he has pleaded not guilty .
Judge Arthur Engoron is reviewing James’ claims that Trump repeatedly lied in financial reports to get better terms on loans and insurance.
James has accused Trump of overstating the value of more than 20 properties from 2011 to 2021, including his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and the Trump Tower penthouse in Manhattan, and inflating his own net worth by as much as 3.6% to have inflated billions of dollars.
“Based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is necessary for the court to find that the defendants presented grossly and materially inflated assets and used them to defraud banks and insurers,” James said.
Trump called the lawsuit a “witch hunt.”
His lawyers have argued that James lacks standing to sue over private transactions that they say are not fraudulent and that most of their claims are not time-barred.
They cited a June state appeals court decision dismissing lawsuits against Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as several other lawsuits from before July 2014 or February 2016.
The court left it up to Engoron to decide which parts could proceed.
Last week, Trump accused James of ignoring the decision and Engoron of refusing to implement it and said the trial should be postponed.
This prompted an appeals court judge to temporarily suspend the trial on September 14. A five-judge panel is expected to decide next week whether the trial should continue.
Engoron chose not to appear before the panel, citing his previous orders.
On Thursday, James called Trump’s request for a postponement a “brazen and baseless” attempt to undermine Engoron’s authority.
She said even a short delay would “likely have a devastating impact” on the trial and other trials Trump faces.
James’ lawsuit seeks to ban Trump and his adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric from conducting business in New York. Penalties of at least $250 million are also required. (Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Daniel Wallis)