Trump New York fraud trial cleared to start after appeals panel ruling

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Former President Donald Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, in Clinton Township, Michigan, to address auto workers, Sept. 27, 2023.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

The New York civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump and his company is back on track to begin Monday after an appeals panel lifted a temporary stay on the start of the trial.

The order Thursday came hours after New York Attorney General Letitia James said that she plans to call Trump and three of his adult children as witnesses at the trial of her lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The five-judge appeals panel rejected Trump’s request that it block the trial from starting as it considered his argument that some claims in James’ suit be dismissed because they fell outside the statute of limitations.

Trump, the Trump Organization, his two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and other defendants are accused in the suit of misstating the values of multiple real estate assets, and other claims.

On Tuesday, the trial court judge, Arthur Engoron, found the defendants liable for fraudulently inflating those properties and other assets.

Engoron in that ruling also stripped the defendants of their business certificates and ordered the appointment of an independent receiver to oversee the dissolution of those businesses.

The trial will address the six remaining claims in James’ suit, which seeks around $250 million in damages, and a ban on the defendants doing business in New York state.

Earlier this month, an appellate judge put a temporary hold on the trial to give the five-judge panel time to decide whether to impose a lengthier delay as it weighed Trump’s argument to dismiss some claims.

That argument was based on a separate appeals court decision in June, which removed Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, as a defendant in the case.

The appeals court in that earlier ruling said claims involving Ivanka fell outside a six-year statute of limitations.

But the same ruling left it to Engoron to decide “the full range of defendants” who would be affected by the statute of limitations.

Trump’s latest appeal objected to Engoron going ahead with the trial without first making that determination.

The five-judge panel, in its decision Thursday rejecting Trump’s appeal, did not explain its reasons for doing so.

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