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Donald Trump appeals $454 million judgment in New York civil fraud case

Donald Trump appeals $454 million judgment in New York civil fraud case

 


NEW YORK (AP) Donald Trump has appealed his $454 million civil fraud judgment in New York, challenging the judges' conclusion that Trump lied about his wealth as he expanded the real estate empire that had propelled him to fame and the presidency.

Lawyers for the former president filed a notice of appeal Monday asking the state's mid-level appeals court to overturn Judge Arthur Engoron's Feb. 16 verdict in the trial of Attorney General Letitia James.

Trump's lawyers wrote in court papers that they were asking the appeals court to decide whether Engoron made errors of law and/or fact and whether he abused his discretion and/or authority. skill.

Engoron discovered that Trump, his company and his top executives, including his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., conspired for years to deceive banks and insurers by inflating his wealth on financial statements used to guarantee loans and conclude transactions. Among other sanctions, the judge imposed strict limits on the ability of Trump's company, the Trump Organization, to do business.

The call ensures that the legal fight over Trump's business practices will persist into the heart of the presidential primary season, and likely beyond, as he attempts to clinch the Republican presidential nomination in his quest to retake the White House.

If confirmed, Engoron's decision will force Trump to give up a significant portion of his fortune. Engoron ordered Trump to pay $355 million in penalties, but with interest the total rose to nearly $454 million. That total will increase by nearly $112,000 every day until he pays.

Trump claims he is worth several billion dollars and said last year he had about $400 million in cash, in addition to properties and other investments. James, a Democrat, told ABC News that if Trump was unable to pay, she would seek to seize some of his assets.

Trump's call was expected. Trump had vowed to appeal, and his lawyers had been laying the groundwork for months by frequently objecting to Engoron's handling of the trial.

Trump said Engoron's decision, the costliest consequence of his recent legal troubles, was election interference and weaponization against a political opponent.

Trump complained about being punished for building a perfect company, lots of money, great buildings, everything was great.

Trump's lawyer, Christopher Kise, said after the verdict that the former president was confident the appeals court would ultimately correct the countless catastrophic errors made by a trial court with no connection to the law or reality .

Given the serious stakes, we are confident that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients, said Trump attorney Alina Habba.

If the decision stands, Habba said, it will serve as a signal to all Americans that New York is no longer open for business.

Trump couldn't appeal the decision immediately because the clerk's office at the Engorons courthouse had to file a document known as a judgment to make it official. This was done on Friday.

Trump's appeal will likely focus on Engoron, whom Trump's lawyers have accused of tangible and overwhelming bias, as well as objections to the legal mechanisms involved in James' trial. Trump claims the law she sued him under is a consumer protection law that is normally used to curb companies that defraud customers.

Trump's lawyers have already gone to the Appellate Division at least 10 times to challenge Engoron's previous rulings, including during trial in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn a hush order and $15,000 fine for violations after Trump made a derogatory and false social media post about a key court staff member.

Trump's lawyers have long argued that some of the allegations are statute-barred, saying Engoron failed to comply with an Appellate Division ruling last year that he narrowed the scope of the lawsuit to eliminate outdated allegations .

If Trump fails in the Appellate Division, he can ask the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, to consider taking up his case.

The appeal is one of Trump's many legal challenges. He has been criminally charged four times in the past year. He is accused in Georgia and Washington, D.C., of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. In Florida, he is accused of hoarding classified documents.

He is scheduled to go on trial next month in Manhattan on charges of falsifying business records related to hush money paid to porn actor Stormy Daniels on his behalf.

In January, a jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her after she accused him in 2019 of sexually assaulting her at a department store of Manhattan in the 1990s. That's in addition to $5 million the jury awarded Carroll in a related trial last year.

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