Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial, scheduled for October 2, will proceed as planned after a New York appeals court denied his motion to delay the trial. Trump had accused the trial judge of wrongly refusing to dismiss most of the case. The trial will address allegations that Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, fraudulently overvalued assets and net worth to obtain favorable loan terms. The case was brought against Trump and his adult sons by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who seeks at least $250 million in penalties, as well as bans against Trump and his sons from running businesses in New York. The trial is unrelated to the criminal indictments Trump currently faces.
In a separate ruling, state court Justice Arthur Engoron found “conclusive evidence” that Trump had overstated his fortune by as much as $2.2 billion. Engoron also ordered the cancellation of certificates that allowed some of Trump’s businesses to operate, potentially requiring Trump to cede control of properties such as Trump Tower and Manhattan’s Wall Street office building. Late on Wednesday, the attorney general’s office and defense lawyers disclosed lists of potential witnesses for the trial, which could number well over 100. Trump, his adult sons, former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen are among those on the lists.
Despite the ongoing legal challenges, Donald Trump remains a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has portrayed the litigation against him as politically motivated. The civil fraud trial is part of a broader landscape of legal battles that Trump is facing, which includes criminal indictments related to attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is leading the case against Trump, adding a political dimension to the proceedings.