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Trump Asks For Delay In Asset Valuation Fraud Trial

Former President Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump's attorneys are asking for more time to prepare a defense for his civil fraud trial scheduled to start in the fall.

Trump, his three eldest children and companies he controls were sued in September by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who alleged a $250M fraud scheme centered around lying about the valuation of real estate assets, either to obtain loans or to reduce tax payments.

Attorneys for the defendant have asked New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron to delay the civil fraud trial by six months, asserting that the current timeline — the trial is scheduled to start Oct. 2 — doesn't allow enough time to prepare a defense.

“While granting such relief ultimately impacts the trial date, there is simply no demonstrable urgency in getting this case to trial,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a court filing late Thursday, as reported by Bloomberg.

Besides fines, the suit seeks to permanently ban Trump and his three children from serving as an officer or director at any corporation or other similar entity in New York State.

In an email released Friday morning, Engoron wrote to Trump's attorneys and lawyers in James' office, indicating he wouldn't grant a delay in the trial. He said the evidence Trump's lawyers is reviewing is primarily composed of documents they had already turned over.

"The core of this case is very simple: plaintiff claims that defendants submitted false financial statements to third-parties," Engoron wrote in an email Feb. 22, according to court records. "The complaint lays out in excruciating detail what those documents are and in what way plaintiff claims they were false."

"October 2, 2023, is more than seven months away, and with all that has already been accomplished, I see no reason to alter my determination to start the trial on that day," Engoron added.

The New York lawsuit is only one of a number of pending legal matters for the former president, who announced late last year that he is running again for the office in 2024. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is pursuing a case about hush money allegedly paid during the 2016 campaign.

Also, Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis was recommended by a grand jury to bring 2020 election-related charges, Politico reports. Trump is also facing federal investigations for mishandling classified documents.

Late last year, the former president's family business was found guilty on all 17 counts at its criminal tax fraud trial in New York, involving charges for an illegal compensation scheme for executives for personal expenses. It was fined the maximum $1.6M. Trump himself was not a defendant in that case.