Court Battles

Appeals court declines to pause Trump’s fraud trial, but halts cancellation of business licenses

A New York appeals court declined to temporarily pause former President Trump’s civil fraud trial but did halt the cancellation of Trump’s business licenses until after an appeals court hears his case.

The order follows a Friday motion filed by Trump’s legal team to stay the trial and the enforcement of an earlier ruling issued by the New York Supreme Court that found Trump and his businesses liable for fraud.

In that 1,154-page court filing, Trump’s legal team wrote that Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision imposed “unauthorized, undemanded, overbroad relief” to the New York attorney general’s office, which will result in “significant, irreparable harm” to the former president and his business.

“Supreme Court clearly does not comprehend the scope of the chaos its decision has wrought,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

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Engoron’s ruling, issued before the trial began, strips some of Trump’s business licenses and orders that an independent monitor continue to oversee the Trump Organization. On Thursday, Engoron also ordered closer scrutiny of Trump’s assets, barring Trump or any other defendants in the sweeping case from transferring any assets or creating a new entity to acquire them without disclosure first.

Defense attorneys argue in the Friday filing that Engoron had “no rationale or legal authority” to dissolve Trump’s businesses or order additional directives.

“Supreme Court’s sprawling and punitive relief is both unprecedented in a civil action in this State and indefensible under the law or any reasonable view of the facts,” Trump’s legal team wrote.

“They also claimed the order would “unquestionably inflict severe and irreparable harm” to “innocent” employees who depend on Trump’s businesses for their livelihoods, suggesting it threatens termination for “hundreds of New York employees without any jurisdiction or due process.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears in the courtroom with his lawyers for his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on October 03, 2023 in New York City. Getty Images

Trump attorney Chris Kise informed the court and prosecutors Thursday that the defense would seek a stay of the trial and the summary judgment Engoron had issued.

Prosecutors objected to Kise’s notice, which they argued was not provided a full 24 hours before, as is required, because it did not describe what type of stay the defendants would be seeking. Kise had argued that the defense had not decided whether to ask for a pause in both the trial and summary judgment, so they should not have to tell prosecutors those details in advance.

“It’s not notice to say that we’re doing something but don’t know what we’re doing yet,” said Andrew Amer, a prosecutor for the New York attorney general’s office.

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New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued Trump, the Trump Organization and two of his adult children — Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — last September, alleging more than a decade of fraud. The lawsuit asserted that Trump’s company sought lower taxes and better insurance coverage by falsely inflating and deflating the value of its assets.

The trial began Monday, with both James and Trump present in the courtroom. Defense attorneys repeatedly entered objections tied to Engoron’s earlier order but indicated they did not plan to litigate their appeal during the trial itself.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Tags Arthur Engoron Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Eric Trump new york attorney general letitia james New York fraud case