Trump asks for the moon in NY attorney general fraud case, demanding more time despite strict warning from judge

Donald Trump / Letitia James

File photos of Donald Trump and Letitia James.Getty Images

  • Lawyers for Trump say they can’t meet their deadlines in the NY attorney general’s fraud lawsuit.

  • They want six more months, despite a judge’s prior warning that the trial date won’t budge.

  • AG Letitia James’ lawsuit seeks to ban the Trump family and company from doing business in New York.

Lawyers for Donald Trump, his family, and his real-estate business said Friday that the fraud case against them is far too complicated for them to be ready for trial this year.

They are pushing back on a deadline in a massive lawsuit brought by New York attorney general Letitia James — a 200-page filing that seeks to drive the Trump Organization out of her state.

In new court papers, the Trump lawyers asked for six extra months to prepare for a bench trial currently scheduled for October 2. They also asked to triple the number of witnesses they can deposit before the trial starts.

The request is the latest volleyball in a roiling pre-trial battle over the sprawling lawsuit — and is remarkable, given that the Manhattan judge who has predicted over the case for three years recently warned that the trial date is set in stone.

“I am determined to start the case on time come hell or high water,” New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron warned a roomful of lawyers in February, the last time the parties met in person.

Trump’s request would greatly increase the number of witnesses his side could depose before trial.

There are 16 defendants named in the attorney general’s lawsuit, a number that includes Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and a dozen other executives and Trump Organization sub-entities.

Currently, the 16 defendants are allowed to conduct a total of no more than 10 pre-trial depositions, and must do so by March 20. Friday’s reach-for-the-moon filing asks for 30 witnesses, and to move that deposition-completion Deadline for September 29.

A half-year delay in deposits would have a domino effect on later pre-trial deadlines, making it virtually impossible for the case to go to trial this year.

“The current schedule imposes significant hardship on Defendants,” the Trump lawyers argued in a supplemental filing.

The current schedule also “prejudices their ability to sufficiently understand the evidence against them to prepare a proper defense, and hinders their ability to prepare for summary judgments and trials,” it said.

The attorney general’s office has yet to respond to the Trump lawyers’ request, though it has been clear that it, too, will tolerate no delays, especially given that both sides agreed to the current deadlines back in November.

“The Defendants’ claimed hardship is self-inflicted,” the attorney general countered in a filing last weekafter the Trump lawyers first broached moving deadlines.

The judge, too, has yet to rule on the Trump lawyers’ request for more time.

But he hardly seems warm to the idea, according to a letter from the judge to the parties that was also made public Friday.

“The core of this case is very simple: plaintiff claims that the defendants submitted false financial statements to third-parties,” wrote Engoron, a reference to the attorney general‘s allegations that Trump lied for years, and by billions of dollars, about the worth of his properties in documents sent to banks, insurers and tax authorities.

Trump’s side shouldn’t need to do a whole lot more to get ready for trial, Engoron reasoned.

“It is their own alleged documents and acts that are at issue,” the judge said, though he left open the possibility of calling the parties into his courtroom to argue about deadlines.

Still, “October 2, 2023 is more than seven months away,” he noted. “And with all that has already been accomplished, I see no reason to alter my determination to start the trial on that day.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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