Donald Trump appeals $454m New York civil fraud judgment as $112,000-a-day interest accrues


Donald Trump appeals $454m New York civil fraud judgment as $112,000-a-day interest accrues

Former US President, Donald Trump has appealed his $454m New York civil fraud judgment, challenging judge Arthur Engoron’s finding that the former president lied about his wealth as he grew the real estate empire that launched him to stardom.

Trump’s lawyers filed notices of appeal on Monday, February 26, asking the state’s mid-level appeals court to overturn Judge Engoron’s 16 February verdict in the lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, and reverse staggering penalties that threaten to wipe out Trump’s cash reserves.

 

Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers that they were asking the appeals court to decide whether Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he abused his discretion or “acted in excess” of his jurisdiction.

Trump’s appeal paperwork did not address whether Trump was seeking to pause collection of the judgment while he appeals by putting up money, assets or an appeal bond covering the amount owed to qualify for an automatic stay.

Engoron found that Trump, his company and top executives, including his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr, schemed for years to deceive banks and insurers by inflating his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals. Among other penalties, the judge put strict limitations on the ability of Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, to do business in New York.

The appeal ensures that the legal fight over Trump’s business practices will persist into for the time being, as he tries to clinch the Republican presidential nomination in his quest to retake the White House.

If upheld, Engoron’s ruling will force Trump to give up a sizable chunk of his fortune. Engoron ordered Trump to pay $355m in penalties, but with interest the total has grown to nearly $454m. That total will increase by nearly $112,000 a day until he pays.

 

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

During the trial, Trump’s lawyers accused Engoron of “tangible and overwhelming” bias. They have also objected to the legal mechanics of James’s lawsuit. Trump contends the law she sued him under is a consumer-protection statute that is normally used to rein in businesses that rip off customers.

Trump’s lawyers have long argued that some of the allegations are barred by the statute of limitations, contending that Engoron failed to comply with an appellate division ruling last year that he narrow the scope of the trial to weed out outdated allegations.

 

If Trump is unsuccessful at the appellate division, he can ask the state’s highest court, the court of appeals, to consider taking his case.

 

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

 



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