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Trump wants to push back trial in $250 million fraud suit six months, deep into presidential campaign season

Former President Trump Holds Rally In Warren, Michigan

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Save America rally on Oct. 1, 2022, in Warren, Michigan. (Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump wants to postpone a trial in the New York attorney general’s $250 million fraud suit against him, his family and his business empire at least six months, deep into the next campaign season.

The request became public on Friday in a 28-page legal brief by Trump’s team, seeking to postpone the fact discovery deadline until Sept. 29, 2023, and the expert discovery deadline to Dec. 8, 2023.

The latter date, which is only for the end of the pre-trial information-sharing process, is well after the scheduled trial date of Oct. 2, 2023.

It’s also roughly half a year since the initially scheduled culmination of the discovery process: June 5, 2023.

The request is hardly a done deal and must be approved by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who previously found Trump in contempt for flouting a subpoena in the investigation that preceded the lawsuit’s filing.

Justice Engoron previously signaled plans to stick to that trial date “come hell or high water.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who sued Trump, his business and his family in September, will likely oppose any delay.

Her lawsuit accuses Trump of a decade-long scheme in which the former president, his adult children and the Trump Organization allegedly committed “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation in the preparation of Mr. Trump’s annual statements of financial condition” from 2011 to 2021.

Bolstered by the Trump Organization’s criminal conviction, the lawsuit seeks tough penalties for the Trump dynasty apart from the requested $250 million fine, including an order permanently barring Trump, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation.

James previously won a preliminary ruling ordering a court-appointed monitor to oversee the Trump Organization pending trial — and wants a ruling extending monitoring for five years.

Trump’s lawyer Clifford Robert argues that the “complex commercial action,” filed as a 200-page complaint, requires too much time to be ready by the original deadline.

“The allegations in the complaint involve more than 200 asset valuations and 11 financial compilations stretching over a decade,” Trump’s legal brief says. “The valuations at issue cover more than eight separate categories of property, each of which require detailed and individualized factual analysis.”

The AG’s lawsuit followed a three-year investigation involving interviews with more than 65 witnesses and the review and analysis of millions of pages of documents, the lawyer noted.

“To properly prepare their defenses, Defendants must be afforded sufficient time to review the extraordinary volume of documentary evidence produced by the Attorney General, prepare and serve third-party subpoenas, and take thorough fact witness testimony to put a complete and proper factual record before their experts,” the brief states. “Those experts must then be able to evaluate the relevant record and present thorough opinion testimony. Fundamental fairness and due process requires no less.”

Without more time, Trump claims, a trial would amount to “simply a one-way ticket on a railroad to the Attorney General’s predetermined destination.”

Trump requested an oral argument on the motion. The attorney general’s office declined to comment.

Read the legal brief here.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."