Donald Trump faces skeptical court in New York fraud appeal
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[June 07, 2023]
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York appeals court on Tuesday signaled it was
unlikely to grant Donald Trump's request to dismiss state Attorney
General Letitia James' civil lawsuit accusing him, his family business
and three of his children of a "staggering" fraud.
The Appellate Division in Manhattan was considering Trump's appeal from
a January lower court ruling allowing James to sue.
James accused Trump of lying to lenders and insurers from 2011 to 2021
about asset values at the Trump Organization, as well as his own net
She is seeking at least $250 million of damages, and to stop the Trumps
from running businesses in New York. Trump's children Donald Jr, Eric
and Ivanka are also defendants.
Christopher Kise, a lawyer for Trump, told the five-judge appeals court
panel that James sued too late, and lacked broad authority to police a
wide range of transactions that the parties thought were legitimate.
"The greater risk is allowing a government official to come along five
or six or seven or eight or 10 years later to interject itself into
successfully consummated private transactions," he said.
But some judges suggested that James had a role, and that whether fraud
occurred could be decided at the scheduled Oct. 2 trial.
"You keep saying that because the two parties to the alleged fraud
aren't complaining of it, therefore the AG can't address it," Justice
Saliann Scarpulla told Kise. "That is the argument that I'm having
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Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald
Trump Jr., children of Former U.S. President Donald Trump and Ivana
Trump, and Jared Kushner, and Kimberly Guilfoyle arrive to attend
the funeral for Ivana Trump, socialite and first wife of former U.S.
President Donald Trump, at St. Vincent Ferrer Church, in New York
City, U.S., July 20, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Judith Vale, a lawyer for James, warned against giving the attorney
general no oversight.
"These transactions don't take place in a vacuum," she said. "There
are real estate markets, there are insurance markets, there are
banking markets. The honest participants ultimately end up
subsidizing the cost when there is fraud and dishonesty."
The appeals court appeared more receptive to arguments by Ivanka
Trump's lawyer Bennet Moskowitz that James may have sued her too
James' case is separate from a 34-count criminal indictment obtained
by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against Trump over hush
money payments to a porn star, to which Trump has pleaded not
Trump is the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential
election. He has called the probes by James and Bragg, who are both
Democrats, a "witch hunt."
The appeals court did not say when it will rule.
The case is New York v Trump et al, New York State Supreme Court,
Appellate Division, 1st Department, No. 2023-00717.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Howard
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