On Thursday, a Manhattan-based Appellate Division denied the request to postpone Donald Trump’s impending civil fraud trial set for Monday. This followed Trump’s assertion that the presiding judge mistakenly declined to dismiss the bulk of the proceedings.
The judicial determination comes in the wake of state court Justice Arthur Engoron’s judgment that there was consistent and deceptive inflation of Trump’s assets and overall worth. This was done, according to Engoron, to gain more favorable terms on loans and insurance agreements.
The allegations originated in September 2022 from state Attorney General Letitia James. She charged Trump, his grown children, the Trump Organization, and several others with significant misrepresentation in their property valuations.
Trump remains adamant in his stance that he committed no misconduct. He argues that the estimations clearly indicated they weren’t binding, and believes the case is a tactical maneuver to obstruct his potential 2024 presidential campaign.
James is pursuing no less than $250 million in penalties and seeks to prohibit Trump and his sons, Donald Jr and Eric, from managing businesses in New York. Additionally, she wants a five-year prohibition on commercial real estate activities for both Trump and the Trump Organization.
After trying to defer the trial, Trump took legal action against Engoron on September 14. He claimed that Engoron overlooked a prior decision from the appeals court. According to Trump, this decision necessitated a significant reduction in the charges put forth by James, as many were outdated.
However, Engoron clarified that he saw the earlier appeals court decision as having minimal impact on James’ allegations.
He opined that the defendants were constructing a fictional narrative, particularly when assessing the worth of properties like Trump’s Florida Mar-a-Lago estate and his Manhattan Trump Tower residence.
Some real estate professionals have criticized Engoron for grossly undervaluing properties such as Mar-a-Lago. Yet, Engoron is convinced that Trump exaggerated his net worth by up to $2.2 billion.
Engoron also mandated the revocation of some operational licenses belonging to Trump’s ventures. This may compel Trump to hand over control of several properties to a designated manager.
Previously, in June, the appeals court had determined that James couldn’t pursue allegations that dated back to before either July 2014 or February 2016. Yet, James argued that some of these claims were evident in Trump’s yearly financial records and were part of an ongoing pattern of misconduct.
Separately, it’s essential to note that James’ allegations differ from the four criminal charges against Trump. Among these charges is an accusation related to his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race.
While consistently pleading innocent, Trump views these legal challenges as politically motivated attempts by Democrats to tarnish his reputation, particularly as he contemplates a political comeback.
Despite the barrage of legal issues, Trump remains a frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024. Many of his allies emphasize that the charges have only intensified his popularity, a sentiment echoed in various polls post the allegations.